The Barron Park Association

Sep 172014
CPI :  Risk Assessment Report & Possible Zoning Strategies 

October 6: The Palo Alto City Council will review and discuss the the AECOM consultant’s Risk Assessment for Storing and Handling Hazardous Materials at Communications & Power Industries, LLC (CPI), 607‐811 Hansen Way, and supplemental materials, including an analysis of possible zoning strategies to establish adequate separation between plating shop uses and residences.

Staff Report: • CPI Risk Assessment Report and Zoning Direction

Consultant Report and other Attachments:• Consultant Report and Attachment

From the Staff Report: Recommended Motion 

“Direct staff to prepare a draft ordinance for review by the Planning and Transportation  Commission (PTC) and consideration by the City Council in early 2015. The ordinance should  amend the list of uses in the zoning code to explicitly identify plating shops, prohibit plating  shop uses within a specific distance of residential uses and residential zoning districts, and incorporate an amortization schedule based on updated information on the value of affected  investments.”

October 2:  City staff and consultants will be available to answer questions about the Risk Assessment and the staff report at a pre‐meeting scheduled for October 2, 2014 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Barron Park Elementary School, Multipurpose Room, 800 Barron Avenue.

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Feb 172014

Community Meeting

Thursday, Feb. 20th at 6:00 PM
Creekside Inn; Top Floor Tower Room
Presentation of Risk Assessment
By the City’s Consultant

Please attend this Important Meeting

Some background:

  • A series of spills and releases of toxic materials starting in 2006 alerted Chimalus residents that large quantities of cyanides, acids, and other extremely hazardous materials are used on a daily basis right behind our homes.
  • CPI maintains a plating shop on the second floor of Building 2. This is particularly dangerous in an earthquake environment.
  • CPI was allowed to vastly increase the amounts of hazardous materials on this site without any notice to the neighborhood or any public review.
  • The City of Palo Alto ordered a study of the toxics, possible amortization, and zoning updates that was to have been completed by December of 2012. Now, over a year later, the report will be presented.

What can WE do? What can the City do?

  • Hazardous Materials and Plating Shops should not be near families and children.  Safety requires Distance between toxics and people.
  • We, the residents, MUST DEMAND Zoning Changes – Amortize the CPI Plating Shop – Move it AWAY from our homes!
  • Fire Department oversight is NOT ENOUGH: Accidents and unexpected events occur.

Residents have followed this for 8 long years  – since the nitric acid fume release in February 2006.  Here is the timeline of events and actions.  Click for a clearer, enlarged view.

Jul 302012
Curtis Williams (Director of Planning) has released the Request for Proposals (RFP) the City prepared to secure the services of a consultant to implement the City Council motion of June 4. The motion had two parts: 1) conduct an independent evaluation of CPI Hazardous Materials, and 2) provide input on Zoning and Fire Code issues. The RFP was issued on July 13th
Summary of key features –  
…..schedule – work would start at the end of August, and be completed by next February. Adherence to the schedule requires the full cooperation of CPI ; their legal representative at the June 4th meeting promised this; we shall see if they follow through and agree with the terms required for full disclosure of their materials to the consultant within the confidentiality clauses of the contract.
… involved  – two tasks: one to assess the risks associated with the hazardous materials at CPI (to be completed within 90 days of start of work), and the second to advise the City on Zoning and Fire Code issues.
…..meetings with residents –  first task involves at least 2 meetings with residents.
…..independence from industry and a track record working with public groups  : The qualifications state: “….The City of Palo Alto is seeking an experienced hazardous materials consultant who can demonstrate his/her technical competence to complete the required analyses and his/her impartiality and independence from local industries (and industry in general) that use  such materials.” The proposal response is to ”  Include a list of clients and/or related projects completed during the past five  years….AND…List experience working with public agencies and in public communications, such as neighborhood or community meetings, and advising Planning Commissions,  City Councils, and or other local government policy-makers.”
Here is a reference for some background on the 2006 toxic fume release and risks to residents from the  extremely hazardous materials at CPI.