By Barbara Wood
Special to the Almanac
The public has a chance to say what should be included in an environmental impact report on the the proposed new Atherton library. A meeting is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, in the Atherton Council Chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.
Where to put a new library has proved controversial in Atherton as has discussion of how big the library will be. The topic of this meeting, however, will be to determine the scope of the environmental impact report for a new library, which must be done before plans can be approved.
The council decided by a 3-2 vote at its Oct. 19 meeting to choose town-owned Holbrook-Palmer Park as the "preferred site" for a new library.
The council was acting on the recommendation of the Atherton Library Building Steering Committee. The committee has spent the past two years drawing up a plan for replacing the town's current library, located near the town center in an 82-year-old, 4,790-square-foot building that does not meet current seismic safety standards.
The town has about $5.6 million in a fund that must be spent on the library, and that fund is expected to grow to $8.3 million by 2013.
The EIR will look at building a library proposed to be between 9,800 to 13,000 square feet, depending on how the City Council decides to use the interior of the building. The existing Main House in the park would be demolished and the existing library building would be used for other public uses.
The EIR looks at impacts of the proposed project -- such as traffic, parking and noise -- and the effects on historic resources, air and water quality, and endangered species. The report also must look the impact of alternatives to the proposed project, including no project.
The town has suggested that alternatives to be examined in the study include: a smaller library in the park; a library in another site in the park; a library on the existing library site; and a library elsewhere in the Town Center.