Polo Grounds Regional Park – Aptos, Santa Cruz County

Issue: A regional park was proposed on a 62-acre site in Aptos that was designated for agricultural use and would increase noise and traffic to surround residential neighborhoods. The County had a substantial parkland deficit, but the Aptos community had several conflicting visions on the future use of the property. Environmental issues included loss of prime agricultural soils for crop production, excessive noise generation to adjoining neighborhoods, traffic impacts to substandard local streets and intersections and the potential for an endangered wildlife species to inhabit the site.

The park includes meadow and forested open space and several sports fields.

Solution: Managed the original Environmental Impact Report and Supplemental EIR and authored the Final Supplemental EIR and Mitigation Monitoring Plan for the future Polo Grounds Regional Park. Prepared the agricultural viability analysis, which became the basis for one chapter of the EIR. Tasks also included coordination the inter-departmental staff working group and presentations at multiple public hearings on the project. The Planning Commission certified the EIR and approved the project based on the EIR mitigations, which included an alternative vehicle access route to avoid traffic impacts to the adjoining residential areas. The final design included both sports fields and passive open space nearer existing homes. The park is now an important multi-recreational facility in the community and is embraced by surrounding residents.