Take my EIR, please!

Want to take a look at the environmental-impact report for the much-delayed Canyon View High School? Perhaps in an attempt to stave off critics who show up late in the game saying they didn’t have a chance to weigh in, CUSD officials practically pushed the thick document at people who attended a May 16 meeting intended to “introduce” the EIR to the public.

“We’re trying to gather as much information as we can,” said CUSD Facilities Planner Mike Weissenborn, urging people to come to the District Office or local libraries for a copy of the EIR. On June 26, there will be a public hearing, and the comment period will close on the 28th. After the comments from the public and government agencies are incorporated into the final EIR, 30 to 60 days later, the Board of Trustees will vote on whether to “certify” the document, using it as a guide in deciding which property to pursue.

The EIR names land owned by Enloe Health System as the least environmentally damaging option, second only to not building anything at all. The CUSD’s top choice remains property owned by the Schmidbauer family of Eureka, which contains wetlands and Butte County meadowfoam.

Pointing to “conceptual layouts” stuck on the walls of Little Chico Creek Elementary’s multipurpose room, environmental consultant Jay Pawlick of the Sacramento firm Jones & Stokes walked the audience of about 15 people through the EIR.

Even though attendees were told this was not the time to talk about the four years that have already gone by since the school bond passed, some did so. Weissenborn answered gamely: “It’s been a lot more involved and taken a lot more meetings and processing time than the district expected.”

Tanya Henrich, who has fought to preserve endangered meadowfoam, asked about how the district might be able to buy land from an unwilling seller using eminent-domain proceedings.

Weissenborn said that would be a last resort. "We would not want to go to war as such with Enloe and be fighting over that piece of property," he said, hinting that the Schmidbauers may end up being unwilling as well.