Today the City of Benicia posted the much anticipated AGENDA and STAFF REPORT for the April 4th City Council hearing on Valero Crude by Rail proposal. The staff report recommends denial of Valero’s petition to “continue” – or delay – the hearings. The staff also recommends that public comment on April 4 should be open on the EIR, the Use Permit AND Valero’s request for delay.
“Procedurally, staff recommends that the Council open the public comment period and take comment on the EIR, the Use Permit and the request for continuance together. Then direct staff to track Council questions as they occur during the public hearing and to respond to those questions in full at the conclusion of public comment..”
Staff’s reasoning for denial of the delay was multi-faceted, but begins with a financial argument:
There is no budgetary impact if the request for continuance is denied. If the Council approves the request for continuance, there may be additional costs associated with potential re-noticing of the project, as well as additional staff time in reviewing any STB opinion, as well as additional staff time should updates or revisions to the EIR be necessary.
Benicia staff maintains its strong recommendation that the City Council overturn the Planning Commission’s decision and approve Valero’s dirty and dangerous proposal. Additional information can be found in the staff report AND in the FULL AGENDA PACKET.