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Community News

Report summary provided by Andrew Mendoza aide to District 2 Councilmember Charlotte Powers

District 2 - Metcalf Energy Center Advisory Committee

Meeting Summary/Highlights
6/17/99

Members Present: George Aboud, Darcy Becker, Cecilia Dirstine, Jeff Dixon, Mike Tatarkaris, Troy Bunnell, Joe Cassisi, Rebecca Elliot, Art Gonzales, Margaret Leathers Sidener, Dan Stockton and Jackie Adams.

Members Absent: Anne Catherine Vinickas

  1. On behalf of Councilmember Charlotte Powers, Supervisor Don Gage chaired the meeting. He welcomed and thanked the Committee members for volunteering their time to serve on the District Two Metcalf Energy Center Advisory Committee. Supervisor Gage then went on to touch on the purpose and role of the Committee.

  2. Kent Edens, Deputy Director of the City of San Jose Planning Department presented an overview of the City of San Jose's current Greenline, Urban Reserve Policy as a means to provide further information and an understanding of the land use issues surrounding the proposed Metcalf Energy Center project site. Since Calpine is proposing to rezone the proposed project site (Tullare Hill) from "light campus industrial" to "heavy industrial" (public/quasi public), Kent provided information on the General Plan Amendment and Land Use Rezoning Process. This process per City Ordinance requires that Public Hearings/Meetings be held throughout the Planning Commission and Council hearing process. Individuals can contact the City of San Jose Planning Department to be notified of the hearings at 277-4576.

  3. Dan Nix of the California Energy Commission (CEC) provided a "Big Picture" perspective on energy in California. Some of the key topics that were presented were the current and projected energy market/companies (e.g. energy deregulation impacts), energy use/capacity, current and projected energy infrastructure/pipelines. electrical energy distribution patterns/grid. Dan also touched on how the State's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is the legislative body that regulates utility rates.

  4. CEC Project Manager, Lorraine White presented a scope of the CEC organizational chart, CEC Commissioners appointed by the governor (engineer, attorney, economist environmentalist and a neutral) and the CEC Certification Process. In sum, the Certification Process requires federal, state and local legal compliance, certification of conditions/impacts (e.g., air pollution, water, noise, visual impact, alternative sites, land use/real estate values, environment and socioeconomic impacts) hearings and CEC Commission approval. She also passed on information on how the community will have access to a public advisor, Roberta Mendoca. Roberta informed the community that they can become "formal interveners," and that information on the proposed project can be accessed on the internet or folks can contact her to be added to a CEC mailing list at 1-800-822-6228.

    Lorraine made it a point to indicate that such projects are not a "rubber stamp" and that in the past few years only 48 applications have been approved out of 78 (approx. 50% approval rate).

  5. Calpine Corporation presented the key aspects of the proposed project to the Committee. Based on Calpines data and analysis, some of the key aspects presented by Ken Abreu, Calpine Development Manager included the low impact if any of air pollution/emission, noise, environment, infrastructure, plant operation and neighborhood safety and community and economic benefits.

  6. After the Committee was provided presentations of the City of San Jose's General Plan Amendment Process, CEC Certification Process and "Big Picture," and the proposed Metcalf Energy Center, Committee members asked a few questions. For example, What is the CEC and how is the CEC Commission composed? How does the Metcalf Energy Center compare to other sites both on a local and national scale? Will information regarding the key issues (water, air quality/pollution, real estate values and quality of life etc.) be available and presented to the public at large? Will Calpine be required to complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR)? Will alternative project sites and technology be reviewed by CEC? Why can't Calpine upgrade/retrofit existing plants with new technology? Will a financial analysis be presented to prove the cost benefits?

    After Committee comments/questions, Kent Edens then moved on to the pubic input portion of the agenda. A number of Committee members felt it was late in the evening and not all community members would have enough time to speak. Nevertheless, the Committee allowed additional time for public input and noted that they would like to set aside time specifically for public input at the following Committee meeting. Some of the concerns raised by the public included 1) Lack of notification of the Committee meeting. 2) Depreciation of real estate values. 3) Increased pollution. 4) Visual impact and the facility being an eye shore in the community (e.g., Fairchild). 5) The proximity of the proposed project to local schools (Los Paseos Elementary, Bernal Middle and Encinal Elementary) 6) safety concerns, quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods. 7) Real benefits Vs. perceived benefits to the local community and city as a whole (i.e., "real need"). 8) What alternative sites were really considered. 9) What would happen if Calpine wanted to expand in the future? Although there were a number of concerns presented, the community was very disappointed that not enough time was given to them to speak. Overall, the issues and concerns raised by the community and Committee will be addressed through the CEC, CSJ and District Two Advisory Committee public hearing process as data/information is collected. Thus, some issues will take more time to report on and address then others.

  7. The Committee selected the next meeting date which was August 26, 1999 (location TBD) and the meeting was adjourned.

* Note: This is not a legal or formal document and is not intended to present a word for word report but rather a brief meeting summary, highlights and overview. AAM - Dist.2 - Powers

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