Category Archives: Benicia City Council

Benicia City Council hearings – additional meeting date: Monday, April 18

By Roger Straw, March 29, 2016
[Editor:  UPDATE – Note additional hearing date of Monday, April 18. This new date is IN ADDITION TO the previously scheduled hearings.  – RS]

Benicia City Council dates for hearings on Valero Crude by Rail appeal

Hearings began on March 15 and will continue for public comment on April 4, 6, 18 and 19

Benicia city staff has recommended that an additional day of public hearings be scheduled for Monday, April 18, 7pm at City Hall. This will be IN ADDITION TO previously scheduled hearings on Monday, April 4, Wednesday, April 6 and (if needed) Tuesday, April 19. Note that these dates for public hearings are NOT CONSECUTIVE EVENINGS as was the case in previous hearings.

On these dates, Council will hear comments on Valero’s appeal of the Benicia Planning Commission’s unanimous February 11 decision to deny Valero Crude By Rail.  Council will also hear public comment on Valero’s March 15 request to delay hearings.

Documents relating to the hearings include:

Written public comments are encouraged now!  Send your thoughts to the City Council by email directed to Amy Million, Principal Planner, Benicia Community Development Department:amillion@ci.benicia.ca.us. You may also send your letter Amy Million by mail to 250 East L Street, Benicia, CA 94510, or by Fax: (707) 747-1637.

And mark your calendar now, so you don’t forget.  Please plan to attend on Tuesday, March 15 for the presentations, and again on Monday, April 4, Wednesday, April 6 and Tuesday, April 19.  All meetings will be held at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall Council Chamber, 250 East, L Street, Benicia.

    City of Benicia Agenda for April 4: staff recommends no delay

    By Roger Straw, March 28, 2016

    Benicia, CaliforniaToday 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.

      City of Benicia Agenda for April 4: staff recommends protocol for select speakers

      By Roger Straw, March 28, 2016

      Benicia, California

      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.

      Great news for our friends who are official representatives of Davis, Sacramento, Berkeley and elsewhere: the staff report recommends elected officials and agency representatives be allowed to speak first.

      Public Comment:

      This project has generated a large amount of public interest, and staff would like to describe more fully the process going forward so as to give the public clear information and the opportunity to speak on the project.

      Although it does not seem possible to come up with a completely “fair” way to hear speakers, and since having speakers sign up ahead of time did not work as well as hoped at the Planning Commission Meeting, staff recommends that the Council use an approach similar to the approached used by the San Luis Obsipo County Planning Commission for the Phillips 66 hearing. Under this approach, elected officials and agency representatives such as state elected representatives or their staff, mayors, council members, board of supervisors members and their staff would be allowed to speak first. After these people speak, the general public including spokespersons for various groups may speak.

      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.