A critical environmental document for the UTC mall expansion project was not delivered to Councilwoman Donna Frye until Tuesday, hours before City Council voted for the project, raising questions about whether Council was able to adequately review all the necessary documents before approving the project.

Frye sent a memorandum on Wednesday to Bill Anderson, director of city planning and community investment, asking why she only received the 71-page report around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, before the hearing started. She was the only dissenting vote, going against a $900-million mall expansion which has been both touted as a model of eco-friendly innovation and criticized for its projected environmental detriments.

The document, which is dated the very same day as the council meeting, contains a “statement of overriding considerations” — reasons why the project should proceed, despite its impacts to the environment. Click here for the Union-Tribune’s article.

The municipal code requires that environmental documents relating to land development be available to the public and decision-makers fourteen days prior to a hearing on the project.

“The bottom line is that there’s a process that was not followed, which is a problem for me,” Frye said. “Information that should be available — not just to me but to the public, for them to be able to comment on this — was not provided in a timely manner, and that is a big deal.”

In her memorandum, Frye said she presumed that all councilmembers received the document around the same time, although later she said she could not say for sure.

Council president Scott Peters and Anderson could not be reached for comment.

— LEA YU

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