Conduct  an  EIR

On two separate occasions, speakers told groups they were uncertain whether an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) would be conducted. City Planner David Goodson and Developer Eve Stewart both stated it was far more likely a Mitigated Negative Declaration would be prepared than an EIR.


The proposed project is dense and large, a complete departure from what already exists in this corner of Sonoma, and will exacerbate the noise, parking problems, and traffic congestion. A complete EIR should be conducted to expose potential problems, such as insufficient sewer capacity. Before this development is built, citizens should know the environmental impacts, mitigation measures, and final significance conclusion for identified, cumulative impacts. An EIR would also discuss the known views of locals concerning this development. 


In general, this project is sure to cause an unwanted increase in traffic, congestion, and their attendant problems, such as noise, pollution, and safety issues. Specifically, the project, as designed, will impact Clay Street near Broadway, which is already heavy with vehicular traffic associated with Train Town and the Lodge at Sonoma.  Clay Street  Currently, congestion on Clay Street is caused by jackknifed trucks, along with trucks and passenger cars parked at the curbs near the hotel's dock.


For sixteen years, many residents in our neighborhood have not been shielded from noise generated by the Lodge. The collective noise comes from trucks making deliveries, mechanical noise from chillers, an onsite laundry facility, the restaurant's rooftop fans, carpet cleaning services, leaf blowers, contractors, and collectors of rancid grease. Neither have residents been shielded from the noise of garbage disposal and glass recycling, which includes the dumping of hundreds of wine bottles at once. 


People in our adjoining neighborhoods who use Clay Street to drive, walk, or bike do not want more traffic, more congestion, more noise, and more pollution. 

We think our chances for mitigating the negative impacts of this proposed housing development would increase if an EIR were conducted. 


Initial  Study


Just 1 Inch of Rain Falling on 1 Acre of Paved Surface equals  27,000 gallons of polluted runoff.


"The scope of the Draft EIR for the Lodge was determined by the City of Sonoma Environmental Review Committee after preparation of the Initial Study." 




According to CEQA guidelines (California Environmental Quality Act), the purpose of an Initial Study is to provide a preliminary analysis of a proposed action to determine whether a Negative Declaration or an Environmental Impact Report should be prepared.


An Initial Study also enables an applicant or Lead Agency to modify a project, mitigating adverse impacts in lieu of preparing an EIR, thereby potentially enabling the project to qualify for a Negative Declaration.


The Initial Study provides a factual basis for the Negative Declaration, or serves to focus an EIR on the significant effects of a project. The Initial Study should be used to determine the extent which the LRDP EIR analysis adequately addresses impacts of a subsequent project.


City Planning Director David Goodison will write the initial study.



More on Sonoma's City Planning Director's Initial Study here



More on an Initial Study here



CEQA is a statute that requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.


What is the difference between a Negative Declaration and an Environmental Impact Report?


A Negative Declaration is a document that states upon completion of an initial study, there is no substantial evidence the project may have a significant effect on the environment.


An EIR is an informational document, which will inform the public agency decision-makers and the public of: 


A. The significant environmental effects of a project

B. Possible ways to minimize significant effects

C. Reasonable alternatives to the project


CEQA questions and answers



E I R  vs  Negative   declaration