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After months of behind-the-scenes work, the General Plan update and the Dennis Hunter housing project will return for another round of public scrutiny in the next few months.

The newest version of the next General Plan – fully formatted with charts, graphs and maps — is scheduled to be released on the city’s website by March 28, followed by its draft environmental impact report (EIR) on April 4, consultants told the Planning Commission on Tuesday.

The EIR will be published for a 45-day review period, scheduled to end on May 18. The Planning Commission could hold a hearing on the General Plan on April 19, although the commission might wait until the review period is over before it makes a final recommendation to the City Council.

The public’s comments and the responses from staff and consultants will be incorporated into the final EIR that will come before the City Council. No date has been set for a council hearing.

Consultants have spent the last few months updating the General Plan text using InDesign software, updating maps, photos, technical details and statistics, and making sure the EIR reflects laws and regulations passed since the initial draft was published in 2010.

The new drafts will also reflect a few changes the council made late last year. In October the council agreed to remove a new policy that would have allowed limited hotel development in residential areas. In November it agreed to change the land use designations for the Adams Street and City Hall properties to “Central Business,” consistent with plans to consider development projects on both properties.

Hunter project

The city is also working on an updated environmental impact report for Dennis Hunter’s 87-unit housing proposal at the end of Adams Street, with a new EIR scheduled to be released around April 19.

The project’s first draft EIR was issued in 2012, and attracted many public comments about traffic, the risk of flooding, impact on public services like water and sewer, and the overall effects on existing neighborhoods on the east side of town.

Public hearings scheduled for November 2013 were postponed indefinitely at the applicants’ request. Much of the delay has involved a proposal to build a traffic light at the corner of Silverado Trail and Pope Street to accommodate additional traffic associated with the project.

An updated traffic study was performed last summer, and an internal draft of the revised EIR will be reviewed by city staff this month.

The EIR will then be released for a 45-day public review period, scheduled for April 19-June 3.

The environmental review process is being conducted at the applicants’ expense.

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