Carson: Council hearing will examine Porsche driving center plans
Plans for Carson City, California's Porsche Experience Center are rounding their final lap.
A review of expected environmental impacts, including significant air quality problems during construction, is set for City Council approval Wednesday night. Council members also will hold a public hearing on necessary land-use changes so driving courses can replace a golf course, former landfill and apartments.
|A rendering shows the proposed 53-acre Porsche Experience Center in Carson. The project calls for a museum displaying historical vehicles, driving skills courses, driving simulators, a high-end parts and service area, a restaurant and a "human performance center." (parkerb)|
If the project clears the hurdles Wednesday night,, construction will begin soon on the 53-acre center that includes driving skills courses, a vehicle museum and other high-end facilities along the San Diego (405) Freeway on Main Street.
"Porsche is already in plan check for their new building," Economic Development Planning Officer Sheri Repp-Loadsman said, adding that the city can issue building permits if the council approves the EIR and land-use changes. "We will see construction activities start this year."
The center will be the second of its kind in the country, and the fifth worldwide. Designs include a museum displaying historical vehicles, a business center, driving simulators, a high-end parts and service area, a restaurant and a "human performance center" designed to train people like race car drivers. Also, Porsche Motorsport North America offices will be relocated from Santa Ana.
Much of the site will be built atop a closed landfill, which will require massive underground soil remediation before above-ground construction can begin.
Remediation and construction will take place concurrently so the project can be finished by next fall. The former Dominguez Hills Golf Course, which was shut down in anticipation of this development, will be razed, along with a vacated apartment complex.
The final EIR shows that the most distressing issue during the remediation and construction process is air quality.
There will be "significant direct and cumulative air quality impact even after mitigation has been implemented," the report states.
"The city finds that the benefits of the project outweigh its unavoidable adverse environmental effects, and, furthermore, finds that such adverse environmental effects are acceptable."
Dust and emissions from trucks carrying an estimated 200,000 cubic yards of soil will increase air pollution. The only way to reduce this would be to do remediation and construction work separately, but city staff found that that would result in more extensive traffic and noise problems, and a much more expensive project.
Noise levels also concerned environmental reviewers and project neighbors.
There will be a "substantial permanent increase in the existing ambient noise levels" at the center, the report found. A focused acoustical analysis will be ongoing to ensure that noise levels do not exceed city limits.
Other potential environmental concerns were found to be only slightly significant with mitigation measures. There will be buffer areas around nesting birds, a comprehensive well survey to avoid damaging groundwater or vapor wells (which could cause hazardous leaks), and soil watering to reduce dust.
The Porsche project will be adjacent to the planned Boulevards at South Bay development, a massive retail, entertainment and office complex that will also be erected above the former landfill. It includes 11 acres of residential development, which could be impacted by noise at the driving courses.
The six planned courses include two tracks replicating challenging country roads - one about 2,500 feet long and one twice as long. On another 350-foot-long track, computer-controlled water jets will simulate an icy hill. A low-friction circle will replicate slippery roads, while a 280-foot-long kick plate will simulate the loss of rear wheel traction, and a high-speed track and dynamic area will challenge basic driving skills.
City officials have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about this project because it is expected to draw tourists, jobs and revenue to the area.
Modern remediation of the former landfill and aging apartment complex will improve the area's look and safety, the report states. Also, construction will bring an estimated $45.5 million to the region, and the project itself will contribute $22.5 million annually, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
"The city finds that the benefits of the project outweigh its unavoidable adverse environmental effects, and furthermore, finds that such adverse environmental effects are acceptable," city staff wrote in the environmental report. Daily Breeze