The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District announced that it plans to prepare an Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Monterey High School Stadium and Field Improvement Project, and that could take 10 to 12 months to complete.
The project would provide a new lower multi-purpose field and weight room, visitor bleachers, a press box and permanent lights on the athletic field. Originally, the district was planning to do a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project, but now it is planning to conduct a fuller EIR.
The district said it decided to conduct an EIR to ensure compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act before approving and moving forward with the project. The district said it also comes after meetings with concerned neighbors. It said many neighbors were satisfied, but that attorneys representing some of the neighbors made it clear that “any district action short of eliminating permanent lights from the project would result in a costly lawsuit.”
“The district has made a good faith effort to find common ground with the neighbors who expressed concerns, but it takes two sides to find a compromise,” said MPUSD Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh. “Though a delay is not what we had hoped for, every dollar we spend fighting a lawsuit could be a dollar spent on improving education for our students.”
The EIR will cost about $250,000 to complete and will take 10 to 12 months. Before a final report is presented to the school board, the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback.
The district said it hopes that a fuller environmental analysis will help assure neighbors that the district is in compliance with CEQA and avoid legal action.