Saturday, December 8, 2012

City of Palo Alto and an environmental attorney accept conditions

An environmental lawsuit challenge following a public vote (11/8/11) has resulted in a beneficial  settlement (12/3/12): 1) Palo Alto will do an environmental review and pay their own attorney fees; 2) The environmental attorney will pay his own attorney fees and go away.  

Following Palo Alto's environmental review, the city may build the compost facility (planned for  2014).  Sustainable benefits include: slug utilization without hauling, replacement of natural gas to run the site incinerator, and a modern composting facility resulting in a high quality compost soil product that may be sold.

Palo Alto's March, 2011, initiative here.  A modern anaerobic digester plant may replace the closing landfill composting site.  
  Palo Alto Daily News/Jason Green, 12/4/12.  "Settlement reached in Palo Alto Baylands parkland lawsuit."

"A settlement agreement has been reached in a lawsuit that challenged whether Palo Alto parkland could be undedicated through the initiative process, City Attorney Molly Stump announced Monday.

Environmental lawyer Thomas Jordan sued the city in late 2011 after voters resoundingly passed Measure E, which set aside 10 future acres of Byxbee Park for a potential compost-to-energy facility.  Jordan argued that the measure "short-circuited" the city charter process for undedicating parkland.  The city countered that the state initiative process used to put the question before voters trumped the one laid out in the city charter.  Jordan approached the city about settling the case before it could be taken up by the court, Stump said.

....  Under the settlement agreement, Jordan will dismiss the lawsuit and release all claims raised. Neither side has to admit being wrong and each will bear its own attorney's fees and court costs. The amount of money the city spent on the litigation was not immediately available.

The city also must perform "environmental review for the purpose of identifying significant environmental impacts and imposing appropriate mitigation measures" before issuing any regulatory permits for a compost-to-energy facility in the Baylands,  Lastly, the agreement requires the city to place Jordan on its community outreach email address list.according to the agreement. Stump told The Daily News the settlement agreement is "absolutely" the best possible outcome for the city.
"We believe the court would have agreed with us," Stump said, "but this removes any question."  Read more.

ReferenceBallotpedia.  Palo Alto Measure E, 11/8/11, ".. undedication of Byxbee Park acreage for composting facility." Measure E voting results:  "yes" 64.62%; "no" 35.38%.

Related Palo Alto Online 10/21/11. "The brown and dusty expanse of barren land next to Palo Alto's water-treatment plant looks like an unlikely setting for the next major battle in the city's Green Civil War. It's not exactly a "dump" and it's not exactly a "park," though there are plenty of local environmentalists who would use these terms to describe the most controversial 10 acres in Palo Alto. But the argument over what to call this lumpy section of the Baylands is but a small, semantic quibble in the furious debate over the land's future -- a debate that will climax on Nov. 8, 2011 when residents walk into voting booths to consider Measure E."  Palo Alto Online, 1/2/09. "Palo Alto examines new compost technologies, City's 'windrow' system may soon be scraped."  "The future of Palo Alto's composting could be found in ancient Amazonian soil, in gargantuan plastic bags or in stainless-steel blocks regulated by computers."

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

dare I ask . . . what does this have to do woth fixing Pacifica?

Anonymous said...

@325 Oh god, please don't ask, please, please, please.

Anonymous said...

Palo alto rich city

Pacifica broke city