The city of Tehachapi is inviting public comment and informing the community of some potential impacts of Sage Ranch, a proposed housing development off of Valley Boulevard near Tehachapi High School, through an initial study of the project.

This is a way the community can see the types of potential risks to surrounding areas and the environment.

“The initial study / notice of preparation is known as a scoping document and the primary purpose of this document is to alert interested local agencies of our intent to create an Environmental Impact Report,” Jay Schlosser, development services director for the city, wrote in an email.

He continued: "In the IS/NOP, we consider the proposed project against the mandatory (California Environmental Quality Act) study categories. We self-identify which portions of CEQA require additional study due to the potential for significant environmental impacts which may need to be mitigated. We document that decision making effort and invite interested parties with standing to comment on the scope of work we intend to undertake in the forthcoming Environmental Impact Report."

The document is open for public review for one month, until Aug. 1.  It can be read at: liveuptehachapi.com/DocumentCenter/View/4736/Sage-Ranch---Notice-of-PreparationInitial-Study-PDF?bidId=

A final EIR document is not complete until the City Council finalizes and approves it and a notice has been posted for 35 days.

The initial study, prepared by Crawford & Bowen Planning, Inc. lists different types of risks — everything from significant to no risk. It covers greenhouse gas emissions, energy, air quality, biological resources, water, land use and planning, noise and population, among other impacts for the 1,000-unit project slated to be built on about 138 acres.

A final EIR study is slated to show in detail any risks and whether mitigation measures may be taken.

The developers plan to build an average of 143 units over seven years, the initial study document states.

Eleven of 20 factors are listed as having a ”potentially significant impact” to the environment. This means there is “substantial evidence that an effect may be significant, and no feasible mitigation measures can be identified to reduce impacts to a less than significant level,” according to the document.

However, this does not mean changes can’t be made to mitigate road congestion or other environmental factors, said Stuart Nacht, development manager for Sage Ranch.

The proposed housing division with new farmhouse-style cottages, family housing, town houses and apartments may bring in more than 2,600 people upon completion of the 1,000 units, according to the initial study.

“We have made a serious effort in our design to address the potential effects of adding vehicles. We have done that with site planning called new urbanism, as required by the city. That will defuse the traffic,” Nacht said.

The proposed housing division would add 12 points of entry for the complete acreage, some along Valley Boulevard and other streets; connect to the city’s water, sewer and storm drains; and construct any needed roads and landscaping. The division would also include a 3.8-acre central park, 3.4-acre youth sports park, two other garden parks, an organic garden and various pocket parks throughout, with a walkable neighborhood, according to the initial study.

New housing options are part of long-term goals for both the city and the developer.

The city of Tehachapi’s intention is to help provide housing opportunities with a range of densities, styles, sizes and values to meet the future demand for housing; provide a sense of walkability through the development by using open spaces; approving designs that are compatible with existing residential development and surrounding land use; and meeting the city’s general plan, said the study.

Some of the applicant's objectives include providing high-quality new urbanism designed master plan mixed units, building economical entry-level housing in eight varieties that homeowners will take pride in and creating a successful and feasible project, said the study.

“I think it was fair to the town, conservative and safe for ensuring a proper in-depth study was done,” said Nacht.