Commentary: Banning will make it harder for me to breathe

I have had asthma since I was a little girl. I have to use two inhalers a day.

The Banning Ranch Development project frightens me because of the information in the environmental impact report. It states the air quality, which will result from this project, will have mass emissions of oxides of nitrogen.

Without mitigation, regional emissions are forecast to exceed applicable thresholds in some construction years. How many and when?

Though mitigation MM 4.10.1 would reduce the emissions to less than significant levels, Tier 4 diesel engine construction equipment cannot be assured, but for purposes of the report, the impacts are found to be significant and unavoidable.

When their grading and oil remediation is self-governed, without any government agency oversight, how will they mitigate air? What do they consider "mitigation?"

The document also states that the long-term emissions of criteria pollutants would not exceed South Coast Air Quality Management District mass emissions thresholds from occupancy through 2020.

But as the project continues beyond 2020, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide will exceed significant thresholds — eight years from now. I don't understand.

They talk about impacts being significant and unavoidable, yet the Costa Mesa City Council signs a document stating it agrees there are no significant impacts, environmental or otherwise, with this development? Is my ability to breathe not an impact?

Why didn't the council consider the health of their residents as they signed the traffic mitigation report? Why did they not adhere to our city's 2000 General Plan?

Don't they have to adhere to a general plan in place when considering any agreement? Why is our city attorney's signature not on the original signed agreement? Why does a signature line in agreement presented to the council state that our city attorney only agrees to "as to form." What does that mean?

Why did they accept $4 million when the developer stated traffic mitigation would be $8 million to $10 million during his council presentation during a Planning, and Parks and Recreation commissions meeting in October?

Why did they base their decision on a draft EIR, versus the actual report? Why did they make an agreement with a developer before it's been approved by the Newport Beach City Council or the state Coastal Commission?

This agreement also refers to 3,000 homes, when the developers' original proposal stated 790 "urban flats" on the "perimeter" of the project. Where will these 3,000 homes be? The city will receive "Milestone Fees" for these units?

I am very concerned about being able to breathe with a construction site very close to my home and the legality of this agreement.

KIM FARTHING lives in Costa Mesa.

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