1. The public process allows you participate in California High Speed Rail project.
2. If you are generally not worried about this project, then consider that it may still be approved in ways that negatively affect you, your home, your kids, your neighborhood, or the state – and it may not have to be. The only way to make the Authority aware of your individual, immediate concerns is to send in comments during this period.
3. This is your opportunity to address any concerns related to scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental issues.
4. If you don’t think your comments will have any effect, then consider that the only comments that are sure not to have any effect are the ones you don’t write. Those you do write must be considered and addressed.
5. If you do not comment, you forgo many of your rights to any recourse in the future if there were inadequacies that were not addressed.
6. Your comments should be polite, business like, and to the point. Avoid personal attacks, rude comments, or inappropriate language.
1. Objectively evaluate the project and be VERY specific. Generalities can be dismissed with generalities.How to Provide Comments to the Authority:
Consider the activities proposed as part of the project and determine if these actions will result in a direct or indirect impact or
change to the physical environment. Would it be a negative impact? How? Why? Also consider your sources when providing
evidence. Seek out recognized agencies or published data and reports whenever possible. Also, whenever possible, avoid
sources that can be perceived as biased. Again, you can simply raise an issue with no support – the burden of proof is on
them – but if you have data – give it to them!
Consider immediate and future impacts, and temporary and long-term impacts. These are generally associated the
implementation of the project, the zoning.
If you conclude there would be a significant adverse effect, does the document agree with that assessment? If not, why not
or does it simply fail to discuss it at all?
Generalities will be dismissed with generalities, so be specific!
2. Separate your concerns into clearly identifiable paragraphs or headings and keep a tight focus on each separate issue. Don’t mix topics.
3. Avoid saying “I support the 2030 General Plan Update Project, but…” – just list your concerns or you run the risk of having your letter be classified as a letter of support instead of addressing your concerns.
4. Consider ways to avoid impacts or enforceable ways to reduce the severity of impacts. Quantify your objections whenever possible.
If the impact is potentially significant, are there mitigations (ways to reduce the severity of the impact) included in the
document? Will they reduce the impact to a less than significant level? For example, if train noise is an issue, a noise barrier
wall that reduces the noise below a certain level is considered to be an effective mitigation measure.
If the mitigation proposed doesn’t appear to be sufficient or appropriate, then:
- Identify the specific impact in question;
- Explain why you believe the impact would occur;
- Explain why you believe the effect would be significant; and, if applicable,
- Explain what additional mitigation measure(s) or changes in proposed mitigations or to the project you would recommend.
Your reasons cannot simply be a subjective dislike for the HSR Project or a particular segment.
- Explain why you would recommend any changes and support your recommendations.
You will need to objectively identify the deficiencies and explain the basis for your recommendations.
If you cannot support the project as a whole, be sure to identify why you oppose it in as much detail as you can. Explain why
it doesn’t work in your community or neighborhood.
Quantify your objections whenever possible. Don’t just complain. Include suggestions for making it better.
Economic issues are usually not addressed under CEQA. However, they are considered by decision-makers.
5. Whenever possible, present facts or expert opinions. If not, provide personal experience or your personal observations. Don’t just complain.
Explain the basis for your comments and recommendations (facts, reasonable assumptions based on facts, or expert opinion
supported by facts) and, whenever possible, submit specific data and/or references supporting your conclusions. If you
simply write, “I don’t like this project”, your comment may be logged as “Comment Noted.”
6. Include suggestions for making it better or offer specific alternatives and describe how they meet the
requirements of the project.
7. Point out any inconsistencies in the document or the data. Point out outdated information or errors in logic. Focus on the sufficiency of the EIR in identifying and analyzing the possible impacts of the project on the environment.
8. Write a comment that includes a valid name, address and your segment name. Submit it before the deadline. KEEP A COPY OF YOUR COMMENTS.
Comments postmarked after the close of the public review period may not be accepted or acted on, no matter how significant
the issue. If necessary, fax your comments on or before the close of the review period and follow up by regular mail.
9. Reviewing agencies or organizations should include the name of a contact person, who would be available for questions or consultation, along with their comments.
Be specific: The more specific your comments are, the more they will require the lead agency to consider and respond to
Don't say: There are plenty of deer around here, why do we have to dedicate permanent open space and have minimum lot
Instead say: “What criteria is the Department of Fish and Game using to justify the requirements for permanent open space
and minimum lot sizes for the areas inside the rural community boundaries which are in the designated winter and critical
winter range of the Mooretown and Donieville deer herds? The Deer Herds Map was last edited in 1985, and should be
brought up to date. The impact of climate change on the winter and critical winter range has not been addressed by the draft
EIR. These impacts should be addressed.”
- Look for inconsistencies in the document.
- Look for errors in logic: If a proposed mitigation measure isn’t funded, doesn’t have an identified site, or for some other reason looks like a fig leaf rather than a serious effort to address a problem, say so.
- Look for stale data and point it out.
- Focus on the sufficiency of the EIR in identifying and analyzing the possible impacts of the project on the environment.
- Avoid starting comments with statements of support, followed by concerns. When you write, “I support this project, but I have a number of concerns…” your comment may be logged as a “Letter of Support” even though you may have written 10 pages on why you are not satisfied with the EIR. Your comment does not need to be “balanced” between the part of the project you favor and those that you concern you – simply state your concern
- Separate your concerns into clearly identifiable paragraphs / headings and keep a tight focus on each separate issue. Don’t mix topics.