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Environmental Review

Final Environmental Impact Report

Santa Clara County released the Final Environmental Impact Report (final EIR) for Stanford’s proposed 2018 General Use Permit on December 13, 2018. The report confirms earlier findings in the Draft Environmental Impact Report, described below, that almost all environmental impacts of new academic and residential facilities can be appropriately prevented or mitigated. The final EIR includes responses to all comments made on the draft version of the report.

Read the Stanford Report article about the final EIR

Stanford 2018 GUP Final EIR Part 1: Consolidated Draft EIR

Stanford 2018 GUP Final EIR Part 2: Response to Comments Document

Draft Environmental Impact Report

Santa Clara County prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) for Stanford’s proposed 2018 General Use Permit. The 120-day public review period for this Draft EIR began on October 6, 2017 and ended on February 2, 2018.  

Recirculated Portions of the Draft EIR

The county is subsequently re-circulated portions of the report with two new County-initiated “Housing Alternatives” and sought public comment between July 1 and July 26, 2018. Santa Clara County decided to study the alternatives in response to public comments on the Draft EIR. The first alternative examines the environmental impacts of adding a further 2,549 housing units and student beds on Stanford’s campus in addition to the 3,150 units Stanford proposes. The second alternative studies half of that increased amount, or 1,275 additional units and beds.

In addition to receiving public comment via correspondence, there were two public meetings where local residents had the opportunity to provide comments:

  • June 27 (Wednesday), 6-8 p.m. at City of Menlo Park Council Chambers, 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park
  • July 10 (Tuesday), 6-8 p.m. at Palo Alto Arts Center Auditorium, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto

Stanford’s overview of the Draft EIR

Application and Draft EIR brochure

View key facts about the General Use Permit application and Draft Environmental Impact Report.

Draft EIR summary

Read Stanford’s summary of the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

2018 General Use Permit Draft EIR

Volume 1 - Summary; Introduction; Project Description; Plan Consistency; Environmental Setting, Impacts, and Mitigation Measures for all topics except Transportation and Utilities (12 mb, 550 pgs)
Volume 2 - Environmental Setting, Impacts, and Mitigation Measures for Transportation and Utilities; Other CEQA Considerations; Alternatives; Special Considerations; Report Preparers; Appendices (14 mb, 628 pgs)
Volume 3 - Appendices, continued (77 mb, 4,235 pgs)

What are the environmental impacts?

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) issued by Santa Clara County finds that air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions associated with campus operations are expected to decrease over time, despite development. Three primary areas of consideration are mentioned in the Draft EIR – construction noise, historic buildings and transportation – that cannot be completely avoided, though it recommends mitigation measures to reduce their impact.

English 161 students on the cool lawn alongside Lasuen Mall.

The Draft EIR finds there could be increased noise on a temporary basis due to campus construction and there could be impacts to historic buildings. As it is not yet known where specific new buildings will be located or whether any historic buildings will be replaced, the EIR makes the conservative assumption that there will be significant and unavoidable impacts – though it identifies mitigation measures to reduce these impacts.

The Draft EIR also finds that if Stanford does not expand its transportation demand management programs, significant and unavoidable impacts to intersections and freeways could occur.

Stanford University is committed to implementing all mitigation measures identified in the Draft EIR, including implementing additional transportation demand management programs.

Mitigating environmental impacts

In addition to mitigation measures identified during the environmental review process, Stanford proposes conditions of approval to implement the Stanford Community Plan’s strategies, policies and goals including:

  • Implementing additional transportation demand management programs
  • Continuation of the housing linkage requirement that ensures campus housing is constructed commensurate with academic and academic support space
  • Recognition that Stanford provides affordable on-campus housing that meets Santa Clara County’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment
  • Continuation of payments to subsidize affordable housing, but with the modification that such subsidies would be expended for affordable housing in Santa Clara County along major transit corridors rather than limiting expenditures to areas near the Stanford campus

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