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INITIAL STUDY ENVIRONMENTAL CHECKLIST FORM AND MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION

City of El Segundo
COMMUNITY, ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT SERVICES DEPARTMENT 350 Main Street El Segundo, CA 90245 (310) 322-4670 FAX (310) 322-4167 www.elsegundo.org

ENVIRONMENTAL CHECKLIST FORM

PROJECT No. EA 474, GPA 99-2, ZC 99-2, ZTA 99-05

  1. BACKGROUND
    1. Project Title: City of El Segundo Downtown Specific Plan
    2. Lead Agency Name and Address: City of El Segundo, 350 Main Street, El Segundo, CA 90245
    3. Contact Person and Phone Number: Laurie B. Jester, Senior Planner, Phone (310)-322-4670 x:412, Fax (310)-322-4167, E-mail ljester@elsegundo.org
    4. Project Location: 100-500 blocks of Main Street, 100-300 blocks of Richmond Street (excluding the Multi-family Residential R-3 portion on the southeast corner of Holly Avenue and Richmond Street (the 300 block of Richmond) and abutting areas on the north and south sides of Grand Avenue. (Map 1)
    5. Project Sponsor's Name and Address: City of El Segundo, 350 Main Street, El Segundo, CA 90245
    6. General Plan Designation: Downtown Commercial and Public Facilities
    7. Zoning: Downtown Commercial (C-RS) Zone and Public Facilities (P-F)
    8. Description of Project:(Describe the whole action involved, including but not limited to later phases of the project, and any secondary, support, or off-site features necessary for its implementation. Attach additional sheets if necessary) The proposed project is a Specific Plan for the Downtown area of El Segundo. The Plan envisions a ten-year horizon for planning and development purposes. The project includes a General Plan Amendment (GPA 99-2), a Zone Change (ZC 99-2) and a Zone Text Amendment (ZTA 99-05). The Downtown Specific Plan encompasses the majority of the Downtown Commercial (C-RS) Zone, as well as the Civic Center Complex, which is zoned Public Facilities (PF). The Plan area is currently developed with commercial, residential and public uses, and future development is anticipated to be similar in nature. The entire Specific Plan area is approximately 25.8 acres in size, while the C-RS Zone is approximately 30.8 acres in size. El Segundo’s Downtown is the heart of the community. Due to its location deep within the community and away from regional arterials, Downtown remains a small, distinct district approximately two blocks by five blocks in size. The Specific Plan will provide land use and development standards for the area including, but not limited to, standards for heights, setbacks, density, lot area, outdoor uses, landscaping, parking, loading, circulation and signage. Design Standards will also be included within the Specific Plan to regulate site development, street and alley configurations, streetscape (sidewalks, street furniture, bus stops, bicycles), landscaping, lighting (street and pedestrian, decorative and security), architecture and signage. Implementation of the project may involve the formation of a Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), the construction of a two to three-level parking structure, the implementation of a Master Street Tree, Lighting and Landscaping Plan, modifications to the street and sidewalk widths and configuration, implementation of a parking management program, formation of a sidewalk and streetscape maintenance district, the formation of a Historic District in the 100 and 200 blocks of Richmond Street and other similar implementation strategies to meet the goals of the Plan. Two related projects, which are currently underway, are the update of the City’s Circulation and Housing Elements. The Downtown is divided by three principal streets – Main Street, Grand Avenue, and El Segundo Boulevard. Each of these three streets connects to major, region-serving arterials or freeways. El Segundo Boulevard, on the southern boundary of the Plan area, runs in an east-west direction and connects to the I-405 Freeway and to Sepulveda Boulevard. Grand Avenue, an east-west street, connects to Sepulveda Boulevard on the east and the beach to the west. Main Street runs north and south between El Segundo Boulevard and Imperial Highway, which borders Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The I-105 Freeway is north of the Plan area, immediately north of Imperial Highway. Grand Avenue is one of only two City streets that connects to the beach. It is the principal east/west street in Downtown El Segundo and crosses both Main and Richmond Streets. The portion of Grand Avenue addressed in the Downtown Specific Plan is between Main and Concord Streets. Beyond Concord Street, Grand Avenue crests the hill of an ancient sand dune and disappears from view toward the ocean. Grand Avenue to the west of Concord has recently been planted with Cajeput trees to provide a visual welcome to El Segundo. Grand Avenue is one of the widest streets in the City, having formerly been the early alignment of one of the trolley cars that criss-crossed the region before falling victim to the automobile. The right-of-way is 100 feet in width with 10-foot sidewalks on both sides and a center median. Parallel parking is provided on both curb lanes and on both sides of the center median. The majority of the lots within the Specific Plan area are 25 feet wide by 140 feet deep, 3500 square feet in area, although many of the lots have been combined and developed under common ownership. The majority of the Specific Plan area is developed with neighborhood service commercial uses, including uses such as beauty shops, drug, jewelry and antique stores, restaurants, medical, dental and general offices, banks and similar uses. The Plan area also includes approximately 82 existing residential units, mainly small (1-8 unit) apartments in mixed-use developments, with the primary use being commercial. The current zoning would allow a maximum of 276 dwelling units within the Plan area; one unit per 25 foot wide lot, not including the Civic Center site. The Plan proposes to double the allowed residential density to 2 units per 25-foot wide lot, which would allow 552 units total. As an option, the west side of the 300 block of Richmond Street may be developed as Multi-family (R-3) or Multi-family with a small commercial component at the street front. These options would not significantly change the residential density in the Plan area as the proposed two residential units per 25-foot wide lot (25 dwelling units per acre) is approximately the same density as Multi-family (R-3) development (27 dwelling units per acre). For this evaluation, a ten-year horizon was used with a maximum buildout of 150 additional residential units (in addition to the 80 existing units). This is 27% of the 552 units at total buildout. It is not realistic to assume that all of the allowed residential units would be constructed in the ten year horizon, particularly since the zoning has allowed residential for over fifty years and there are currently only approximately 80 dwelling units in the Plan area. The majority of the 100 block of the east side of Richmond Street is a surface parking lot for the Chevron Refinery immediately to the south, and smaller Chevron parking lots also occupy the west side of Richmond and the100 block of Main Street. There are four small City owned surface parking lots with a total of approximately 115 parking spaces, which are open and free to the public, within and immediately adjacent to the Plan area. Parking requirements vary depending on the type of use, however within the Downtown additional parking must only be provided for new square footage, not for a change from one permitted use to another permitted use. The majority of the existing uses in the Plan area provide on-site parking; although generally it is limited to only 3 to 5 spaces per 25-foot wide lot. The Plan proposes to continue this standard but also allow more flexibility in parking standards, allowing joint use, off-site and other creative parking solutions. The existing development within the Plan area is largely one to two stories in height, with a few three to four story buildings which step with the rolling topography. The current and proposed development standards allow 45 feet in height for construction. The total square footage of existing development within the Plan area is approximately 560,000 square feet with an average Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of approximately .5 with a range of approximately .2 to 1.5 FAR, not including residential density. The current and proposed standards allow an FAR of 1, although one strategic site, the City parking lot (17,500 square feet in area) in the 200 block of Richmond Street, (on the Northeast corner of Richmond Street and Franklin Avenue) is proposed to allow a 1.5 FAR. For the evaluation, a ten-year horizon was again used with a maximum buildout of 271,814 square feet of new commercial uses (in addition to the approximate existing 560,000 square feet). This is 24% of the maximum 1,123,848 square feet of total buildout.

      The Downtown Specific Plan area is divided into five districts. The Main Street District is the Downtown core, the heart of the Downtown, and runs north and south along Main between Grand and Pine Avenues (Main Street 300-400 blocks). The City Hall and Civic Center are located on the east side of Main Street, between Grand and Holly Avenues and face onto a wide variety of commercial uses, including retail, services, offices and restaurants. This area is bounded by the alleys to the east and west of Main Street, by Pine Avenue on the north and Grand Avenue on the south. Main Street has an 80-foot right-of-way with 12-foot sidewalks and 56 feet of paving, curb to curb. The majority of development is built along or near the front property line, at one to two story heights.

      The Main Street Transitional District (MSTD) is located adjacent to the north and south ends of the Main Street District described above. At the south end, the MSTD begins at El Segundo Boulevard and ends at Grand Avenue (100-200 blocks); at the north end, it includes the one block area between Pine and Mariposa Avenues (500 block). This area is seen as an extension of and transition to the Main Street District, with less pedestrian orientated development and fewer pedestrian amenities. This area also has a wider variety of uses, including a church, lodge, single-family residential uses, surface parking lots and light industrial uses, as well as some commercial uses. This area does not have the feel and character of the core of Main Street and it serves as a visual transition into and out of the Downtown core. The Richmond Street District is the "entertainment center" of El Segundo and is comprised of an eclectic mix of antique stores, bars, restaurants and the Old Town Music Hall (Richmond Street 100-200 blocks). This street has a separate and distinct identity from Main Street. The oldest commercial buildings (developed in the teens and 20’s) in the City are located along this street. This District is located one block west of and parallel to Main Street, from El Segundo Boulevard (south) to Grand Avenue (north). Richmond Street has a 60-foot right-of-way, with 10-foot sidewalks and 40 feet of street curb to curb. Development along the street is located at or near the front property line and is one to two stories in height. The Richmond Street District and the Main Street District are alike in many ways however, these two districts are also dissimilar. First, Richmond Street is the older of the two and is distinctive in that regard. The area contains a number of small wooden and brick structures, the historic old jail, and the Old Town Music Hall. Secondly, Richmond Street is narrower than Main Street and traffic flow is considerably lighter. Not having a direct connection out of the City confines this street to local use. Thirdly, this street contains small restaurants and bars rather than the extensive retail uses of Main Street, so this district’s peak periods of activity differ from those of Main Street. The North Richmond Street District is a mixture of retail, residential, church, offices and service uses (Richmond Street 300 block west side). Being north of Grand Avenue and physically separated from the 100 and 200 blocks of Richmond, the development is distinctly different. Additionally, the majority of the development in this northern area occurred in the 50’s and 60’s. While this block differs from the 100 and 200 blocks in that it is not historic, it is seen as having potential for similar type of businesses such as antiques, furniture, book and clothing stores. As an option, this area may instead be developed with Multi-Family residential uses (R-3) or a combination of Multi-Family with a small street front commercial component. The Multi-Family option would allow the construction of a maximum of 29 net new units (deducting the existing 23 units) at a density of 27 units per acre. This District immediately abuts Multi-family residential (R-3) uses and zoning to the west, across the alley. The Village is proposed for the east side of the 300 block of Richmond, which is the site of a former Ralph’s Market. It also includes the parking lot and apartment building north of Ralph’s. This site, about one and a half acres in size, is the only large contiguous parcel in Downtown that is suitable for the creation of a "village" atmosphere within the Downtown. The Village is envisioned as a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use center of community-serving retail, housing, office, and community gathering and open space. This village could accommodate a small specialty market such as a health food store or one that serves neighborhood needs. Two locations for plazas have been identified. One is the existing plaza fronting Main Street at the Civic Center and the other is located to the rear of the Pursell Building, across the alley from the Village site. Plazas are intensively used gathering places and serve as the hub for neighborhood activity. They are designed to accommodate resting, eating, strolling and people watching. Plazas are typically ringed by restaurants, galleries and other retail uses. Food service and goods from portable retail wagons are often available within the plaza.

      The Vision Statement for the Downtown Specific Plan is as follows:

      Downtown is the heart of El Segundo. It is the focal point for the community and one of the cohesive elements that ties the community together. The Vision for the Downtown is to:
      • Provide a better balance of uses.
      • Create a more thoughtful and creative use of public space.
      • Organize creative and consistent programming of events and public activities.
      • Create a consistent public-private partnership to market El Segundo’s assets to investors and customers.
      • Strengthen commitment to the strategic use of key parcels in the Downtown.
      • Create more attractive landscaping and street furnishings.
      • Improve signage.
    9. Surrounding Land Uses and Setting: (Briefly describe the project’s surroundings) The project area is located in the northwest quadrant of the City of El Segundo. Surrounding land uses in the area are generally residential in nature, one to three stories in height. The surrounding area and project area is a fully developed urban environment. North of the Specific Plan area is the El Segundo High School campus, the Library and Library Park. To the east and west of the 500 block of Main Street is a Two-Family Residential (R-2) Zone, developed mainly with duplexes and two-family dwellings. To the west of the Specific Plan boundary in the 400 block is mainly Multi-Family Residential (R-3) zoning, which is developed with small (3-12 unit) apartment and condominium complexes. Further beyond the R-2 and R-3 Zones is Single-Family (R-1) Residential zoning and development. To the west of the Specific Plan area, in the 100 to 300 blocks on Concord Street, there are also a few parcels zoned as Downtown Commercial (C-RS), Neighborhood Commercial (C-2), and Parking (P). The development on these sites is also consistent with the zoning, and includes one to two stories, low-density (.5 to 1 floor area ratio) commercial construction, and a surface parking lot. To the east of the 400 block of Main Street is a Two-Family Residential (R-2) Zone, again developed consistent with the zoning designation. To the west of the 300 block is largely Multi-Family Residential (R-3), developed similarly to the areas to the west of the Specific Plan boundary. Additionally there are a few parcels zoned and developed as Parking (P) and Downtown Commercial (C-RS), similar to the property west of the Plan area. The east side of the 200 block is also zoned and developed as Downtown Commercial (C-RS), again with similar commercial uses and densities. To the east of the 100 block, on Standard Street, is a small industrial zone within the Smoky Hollow Specific Plan area with a zoning designation of Small Business (SB). The land uses in this area (light industrial, warehousing etc.) are consistent with the zoning. To the south of El Segundo Boulevard is the Chevron Refinery, which is zoned Heavy Industrial (M-2), consistent with the land use. All of the zoning designations on the surrounding properties are consistent with the General Plan land use designations. Residential and commercial construction dates from the early 1900’s to the present day, offering a variety of architectural styles. There are no known endangered plant species associated with the proposed Specific Plan area and none that are known to be associated with the immediate locale. Similarly, there are no known rare or endangered animal species associated with the area or its locale. No known animal life is located in the area. Further, there are no known agricultural, biological, or scenic resources of recognized value located within the Plan area nor in the immediate vicinity.
    10. Other Public Agencies Whose Approval is Required (e.g., permits, financing approval, or participation agreement.): None.

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