A consultant declared Friday that this city's proposed indoor sports arena would cause no major environmental problems, although nearby residents may object to its presence, as well as to the noise and traffic it could generate.
Perhaps as significant as the environmental issues, however, is the fact that Anaheim has completed its environmental report ahead of Santa Ana, which is compiling a similar document for a proposed, nearly identical, indoor sports arena in that city.
Anaheim and Santa Ana hope that building an arena will lure a professional basketball or hockey franchise. But backers of both plans generally concede that only one of the cities is likely to obtain a pro team, which experts consider essential if either arena is to be profitable.
"It is a surprise . . . they (Anaheim officials) are that far along," said Santa Ana planner Jeff Rice, who had thought Santa Ana was in the lead in preparing its environmental report.
Rice said Friday that Santa Ana's report probably will not be ready to release for public review until December.
Most environmental concerns posed by the construction of Anaheim's 20,000-seat, $85-million arena can be "mitigated to a level of insignificance," according to the 1 1/2-inch thick report prepared for the city by Phillips Brandt Reddick of Irvine.
But the report concedes that surrounding residents may regard the proposed 100-foot-high structure, its sprawling parking lots and the attendant noise at the site as significantly adverse to their environment. Also, even after efforts to mitigate increased traffic created by the arena, "the level of service at some intersections will remain unacceptable," the report said.
In recent years, residents opposed to noise and traffic have been instrumental in defeating prior proposals for sports arenas in Santa Ana and Anaheim.
Pauline S. Weber, a resident of a mobile home park immediately adjacent to the arena site near Anaheim Stadium, said Friday that she is not pleased with the idea of yet another sports facility in her neighborhood.
"I don't think any of us really like the idea (because of) the noise and the traffic," she said.
When there are games at Anaheim Stadium, "they park all along Douglass Road over here," she said. "It's quite congested even then, so I can imagine what it will be like when they have the arena."
To minimize the visual impact of the towering arena and its parking lots, the arena project will include a 10-foot-wide landscaped buffer at the north and western edges of the site, which abuts the mobile home park, the report said. A six-foot wall also will be constructed next to the mobile home park.
The report found that there would be significant detrimental effects if the city failed to relocate or compensate the Phoenix Club, a German-American social group, and the Christian Co. Inc., a wholesale roofing business, which now occupy the site of the arena. However, the report points out that the city has agreed to relocate both.
The Anaheim City Council will conduct hearings on the environmental report after a public review period. Comments on the report will also be solicited from other interested public agencies.
Anaheim's arena is to be located on 7.6 acres near Anaheim Stadium on Douglass Road north of Katella Avenue. The city agreed to purchase the property Oct. 20 for $8 million from the Phoenix Club.
Anaheim hopes to break ground at the construction site in January. As proposed, the arena would be ready for the fall 1991 National Hockey League season.
According to the consultant's report, the Anaheim arena could be expected to operate 162 days a year, 45 of them for basketball games and 40 for concerts. An average of 34,942 persons per week would attend functions at the arena, which also will feature family shows, circuses, and tennis and boxing matches.
Parking for 2,900 vehicles would be provided on 17 acres along the Santa Ana River east of the arena, and 1,200 more spaces would be located south of Katella Avenue near Anaheim Stadium.