Health Risk Challenges of Siting Housing Near High Volume Roadways



Tuesday, March 25, 2014
8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. PDT

CM | 1.50

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Public agencies are responsible for safeguarding public health and welfare. On one hand, “good” land use planning encourages infill development with increased densities in urban areas and near transportation corridors to meet regional air quality goals. On the other hand, placing people near major transportation corridors increases localized exposure to air pollutants. The California Air Resources Board has determined that concentrations of diesel particulate matter and other toxic air contaminants are greater near major sources of air pollution, including freeways, thus exposing people to greater health risks. However, CARB and regional air districts have no jurisdiction over siting land uses, and there is currently no uniform requirement to evaluate health risk when planning for housing near high volume roadways. Nonetheless, because of public health and welfare implications, lead agencies look to the experts to provide guidance and recommendations. Consequently, the avenue typically used to address health risk has been to incorporate the risk assessment within the CEQA analysis, even though recent CEQA case law has identified that environmental impacts on a project do not constitute a CEQA impact. This panel will engage the audience in a roundtable discussion of the challenges associated with housing sited next to freeways and other transportation corridors. Air district representatives will discuss how infill projects are reviewed and tools for evaluating risk next to freeways. Perspectives from CEQA consultants and State and local agencies will highlight some of the legal and planning challenges for housing near high volume roadways. Mitigation strategies to reduce health risk will be identified.