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Railyards Environmental Impact Report Released

Capital Public Radio / File

The old shops, shown here in 2013, would some day be part of a museum/retail complex according to plans for the Railyards development.

Capital Public Radio / File

The City of Sacramento has released the environmental impact report for the Railyards Project.

It would include as many as 10,000 housing units, a hospital, medical offices, a hotel, 870,000 square feet of retail space and a 25,000-seat soccer stadium.  

Brian Boxer is with Environmental Science Associates -- the company that produced the 1400-page document. He says the development is a "poster child" for infill projects that use available space within a city. He says air pollution and vehicle emissions would be about two-thirds of what they would be if the projects were scattered about the region.

"I think there will be concerns about noise. I think there will be concerns about, probably about, you know, there's always concerns downtown about bicycle travel and routes of travel, and things like that."

The report calls for wide sidewalks and extra police to ease traffic during events at the stadium.

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The EIR also includes a plan to reduce the project's impact on a population of swallows called Purple Martins that currently live under the I Street Bridge. Boxer says their numbers have been declining.

"It's believed that they're largely being affected by insecticides, pesticides and predation by other species and other things.  So, it's possible that these birds don't stay there in the future and that has nothing to do with this project. But, if they remain there, the mitigations are in place to protect them in the future."

The project would include plants that support the birds' habitat and building location requirements to keep structures out of the birds' flight paths.

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There would also be steps to lessen the impact on fish in the Sacramento River from a stormwater drainage system that would empty directly into it. Construction of the system would be limited to late summer and early fall -- August 1st to October 31st -- when water levels are low to keep dirt and debris out of the river.

This is the third time such a report has been prepared in the last thirty years. The last was in 2007 for Thomas Enterprises -- before the company went into bankruptcy and lost the property.

The City will hold an open house Wednesday at the library on I Street for anyone interested in the report.

The comment period for the report ends on July 27, 2016 at 5 p.m.

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