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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 10:38 AM

Chapter 24 - Community Impacts

WHAT DOES THE TOPIC INCLUDE?

This chapter is an overview of the potential community impacts that may be associated with a transportation project. These impacts include:

  • Employment and tax base affected by project (retail sales, opportunity for development, tax revenues, relocation of employment centers, etc.)
  • Businesses affected by project or construction (detours, bypasses, circulation)
  • Changes in property values
  • Social Impacts
  • Changes in neighborhoods or community cohesion
  • Community resources (schools, churches, parks, shopping, emergency services, etc.)
  • Relocation of housing and commercial, industrial, non-profit businesses due to project implementation.

SUBJECT MATTER DECISION TREE

Community Decision Tree

Economic Impacts Decision Tree

Relocation Decision Tree

LAWS, REGULATIONS AND GUIDANCE

Federal Law

State Law

Guidance

INTERAGENCY COORDINATION

There are no permits issued by regulatory agencies in terms of community impacts. However, communication and coordination with neighborhood groups and community based organizations existing in or near the project area is recommended to obtain a better understanding of any potential community impact concerns that might exist in the project area. Local Planning Departments will have information on past project history for an area as well as information on any existing community based organizations, committees or associations that are active in the area.

Local Assistance: Prior to commencing with required technical studies, the local agency requests the DLAE to schedule an early coordination meeting to discuss the scope of the required technical study, the format and content of the technical report, and the procedures for processing the report for review and approval. Please refer to Local Assistance Procedures Manual, Chapter 6, Section 6.7, Step 12.

It would be appropriate to invite a representative of the local Office of Economic Development to the Early Coordination Meeting.

Ensure that representatives of the following service providers are included in project development and coordination, as necessary:

  • Local and State law enforcement (as applicable)
  • Fire Departments
  • Hospitals
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • School Districts
  • Libraries
  • Park and Recreation Facilities
  • Federal, State or Local Social Program Providers

DISCUSSION POINTS

Local Assistance: please refer to Local Assistance Procedures Manual, Chapter 6, Section 6.7, Step 12, for general information regarding early coordination meetings. Early coordination meetings should include discussion of the following points:

Economic Impacts

For most transportation projects, with no discernible effect on the local economy, discussion on this topic should be brief and largely extrapolated from existing documentation. However, some of the larger projects may well have important effects on the local economy of a neighborhood or community.

  • Can it be anticipated that the project will create or eliminate jobs in the local area?
  • Can it be anticipated that the local tax base be affected?
  • Can it be anticipated that the project will affect local businesses? (Relocation, access, visibility, etc.)
  • Will the project have economic impacts outside the immediate area?

For further information, please refer to the Caltrans Environmental Handbook, Volume 4: Community Impact Assessment.

Social considerations

  • Is there evidence that community cohesion exists? Will the proposed project affect interaction among persons and groups?
  • Will the project cause a change in social values?
  • Will community landmarks or social gathering places be affected by the project?
  • Will the project cause redistribution of the population or an influx or loss of population?
  • Will certain people be separated or set apart from others?
  • What is the perceived impact on quality of life?

For further information, please refer to the Caltrans Environmental Handbook, Volume 4: Community Impact Assessment.

Relocation

  • Will the project require the relocation of housing and commercial, industrial, non-profit businesses?
  • Are there available sites to accommodate those displaced?

For further information, please refer to the Caltrans Environmental Handbook, Volume 4: Community Impact Assessment.

Community Services

  • Does the project area contain emergency service facilities such as fire stations, police facilities, hospitals/medical facilities; or community services such as schools, libraries, or post offices? Will the project require the relocation of any such facilities or services?
  • Are similar facilities or services provided elsewhere in the vicinity?
  • Are response times for the emergency services or access for the community services significantly affected by the project?

For further information, please refer to the Caltrans Environmental Handbook, Volume 4: Community Impact Assessment.

REPORT CONTENT AND REQUIRED/RECOMMENDED FORMAT

No technical reports are mandated by state or federal law. If significant impacts to the community are anticipated, they must be identified and discussed within the body of the Environmental Document. However, it may be appropriate to prepare a separate Community Impact Assessment report or background study if concerns regarding one or more community issues are voiced by the affected community, or can be reasonably anticipated by the project development team. Refer to the Caltrans Environmental Handbook, Volume 4 - Community Impact Assessment for information regarding "Preparation For Conducting Community Assessment"

When a project will require the relocation of residences or businesses, a standard statement such as the following shall be included in the body of the section discussing relocation impacts. This is required for all federal environmental documents (EISs and EAs) for projects with relocation impacts:

Model Relocation Statement:

The Department’s Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) is based on the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (as amended) and Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 24. The purpose of RAP is to ensure that persons displaced as a result of a transportation project are treated fairly, consistently, and equitably so that such persons will not suffer disproportionate injuries as a result of projects designed for the benefit of the public as a whole. Please see Appendix D for a summary of the RAP.

All relocation services and benefits are administered without regard to race, color, national origin, or sex in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. 2000d, et seq.). Please see Appendix C for a copy of the Department’s Title VI Policy Statement.

The Department’s Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) is based on the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (as amended) and Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 24. The purpose of RAP is to ensure that persons displaced as a result of a transportation project are treated fairly, consistently, and equitably so that such persons will not suffer disproportionate injuries as a result of projects designed for the benefit of the public as a whole. Please see Appendix D for a summary of the RAP.

Refer to Environmental Handbook Volume 4 - Community Impact Assessment for the requisite information.

PREPARER QUALIFICATIONS

Most data collection and analysis can be carried out by persons without specialized training, although prior experience and an educational background in geography, social ecology, economics, sociology, or regional planning may be very helpful, particularly in complex situations.

TIMING OF STUDIES WITH THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROCESS

Community impact analysis should be conducted as part of the environmental process. If the early Project Development Team meetings indicate that there is substantial interest in the project from a community standpoint, and an EIS/EIR is the likely environmental document to be prepared, it may be appropriate to prepare a separate specialized Community Impact Assessment technical report or background study.

For further information, please refer to the Caltrans Environmental Handbook, Volume 4: Community Impact Assessment.

INFORMATION NEEDED FOR PROJECT DELIVERY

The Community Impact Assessment should be reviewed and approved by the Caltrans District Environmental Manager or Branch Chief. The technical report is summarized in the Draft Environmental Document. If necessary, the technical report may be included as an appendix to the environmental document if community issues are among those prominent in the environmental document. A copy of the Technical Report must be retained in the project files.

Regional Transportation Plan

Information used in identifying community related impacts should be documented in the Environmental Impact Report prepared for the Regional Transportation Plan and serve as a building block in subsequent decision making and analysis.

A Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) requires the preparation of a CEQA environmental document, normally a program or master Environmental Impact Report. Caltrans encourages the MPO/RTPAs to include the following information, as appropriate, in the environmental document for the plan:

  • Characterization of the types of businesses in the corridor or study area;
  • A general profile of the types of housing in the corridor or study area;
  • A general profile of the population characteristics in the corridor or study area;
  • Identification of areas of high concentrations of low-income and minority populations in the corridor or study area (for environmental justice and social equity issues);
  • Existing urban land uses in corridor or subarea;
  • Map of community and public facilities in the corridor or study area (fire, police, hospitals, community centers, schools, places of worship, libraries, etc.).

For more information on Regional Transportation Plans go to RTP Guidelines.

Project Initiation Document

The “Guidelines for the Preparation of Project Study Reports” dated November 3, 1999, stipulate that PSRs and project study report equivalents contain an “inventory of environmental resources, identification of potential environmental issues and anticipated environmental processing type. Potential mitigation requirements and associated costs should also be identified.

For projects on the State Highway System, the following level of information should be included in the Preliminary Environmental Analysis Report (PEAR) prepared as part of the Project Initiation Document (PID):

  • Identification of any potential residential or commercial relocations in the project area;
  • Identification of potential economic impacts in the project area including employment impacts, disruptions to existing businesses, and changes to the tax base;
  • Identification of distinct neighborhoods in the project area;
  • General demographic data on the project area;
  • Specific community and public facilities and emergency services including their service areas in the project area;
  • Any concerns or issues identified through public involvement efforts.

DRAFT PROJECT REPORT

This information should be presented in the draft environmental document or used as supporting documentation for a categorical exemption/exclusion, as appropriate.

  • Verification of all information from RTP stage & PID stage;
  • Number and types of businesses potentially affected by the project;
  • Number of employees potentially affected by possible business relocations;
  • Identification of short-term (during construction) and long-term changes in traffic access to businesses in the study area;
  • Impacts on individual businesses and possible mitigation measures;
  • Social impacts on neighborhoods;
  • Significant safety impacts on neighborhoods in the project area
  • Possible mitigation measures for significant adverse neighborhood impacts;
  • Estimated number of potentially displaced households in the project area, including demographic information as appropriate;
  • Environmental justice analysis for the project area
  • Potential replacement housing meeting the needs of the displaced households;
  • Discussion of the measures to be taken if replacement housing is not sufficient;
  • Summary of the Draft Relocation Impact Report, if prepared by Caltrans right of way, or a summary of relocation information prepared by local agency right of way or consultants
  • Statement that acquisition and relocation program will conform with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended.

For more information see the Caltrans Environmental Handbook Volume 4.

PROJECT REPORT

This information should be presented in the final environmental document.:

  • Verification of all information from previous stages;
  • Summary of identified community impacts from the draft environmental document;
  • Mitigation measures for identified community impacts;
  • Summary of the Final Relocation Impact Statement if prepared by Caltrans Right of Way, or summary of relocation information prepared by local agency right of way or consultants.
  • Statement that acquisition and relocation program will conform with Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended.

PERMIT REQUIREMENTS

No permits are required

ACTIVITIES THAT MAY OCCUR DURING THE CONSTRUCTION PHASE

Any environmental commitment recommended in the final environmental document designed to reduce construction related temporary community impacts may occur during the construction phase of the project.