|   Home Page   |   Who We Work With   |   How We Work   |   Services   |   Testimonials   |   About Us   |   Case Studies   |   Contact Us   |

DHA Case Studies

Click on one of the following links to read the corresponding case study.

Honda Port of Entry


Honda Port of Entry

DHA assembled and managed a team of a dozen technical subconsultants to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Honda’s proposal to establish a Port of Entry at the Port of Richmond’s Point Potrero Marine Terminal (PPMT) in Richmond, California. The PPMT site was part of the former Kaiser Shipyard No. 3 during World War II that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  It is part of the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park and is a California Historical Landmark.

Honda proposes to establish an import and distribution facility at the PPMT for new Honda automobiles built both in Japan and in domestic plants located in the midwestern United States.  In order to transport vehicles to and from the Midwest by rail, a rail yard terminal will be constructed on the PPMT property.  A deteriorated deep-water ship berth (one of two) will be renovated, which will allow up to two car-carrier ships to berth at the facility simultaneously.

Vehicles imported from Japan will arrive by ship and will be temporarily stored in extensive secure parking areas at the PPMT.  Following processing, the vehicles will either be loaded onto car-carrier trucks and delivered to dealerships in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in northern California, or they will be loaded onto trains for shipment out of State on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail network.  Domestically-produced vehicles will arrive at the PPMT from the Midwest by the same rail network and, following temporary storage at the PPMT, will be distributed throughout northern California by truck.

Honda expects to import 150,000 vehicles per year by ship, and would distribute approximately 35,000 of those vehicles via truck to dealerships throughout northern California.  This will eliminate the current practice of delivering 35,000 imported Hondas per year to northern California dealerships by truck from the Port of San Diego, where Honda maintains an import and distribution center for autos sold in the southern California region.  An additional 80,000 domestically-produced vehicles would be processed at the PPMT and distributed throughout northern California by truck.

Following is just a partial list of the potential impacts of the project evaluated in detail by the DHA team:

  impacts to the marine environment of San Francisco Bay;
  impacts on marine traffic on San Francisco Bay;
  impacts on terrestrial biological resources;
  impacts related to the increase in auto, truck, and train traffic;
  adverse health and air quality effects from diesel emissions from trucks, trains, and ships;
  effects on neighboring residents from increased nighttime lighting at the PPMT;
  conflicts with San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) policies and other adopted policies; and
  potential impacts on the historic buildings and other cultural resources at the PPMT.

The DHA team included the following subconsultants:

  H. T. Harvey & Associates (HTH)
  Philip Williams & Associates, Ltd. (PWA)
  Environmental Science Associates (ESA)
  RMC Geoscience, Inc.
  Gribi Associates
  Wood Biological Consulting (WBC)
  PHA Transportation Consultants
  Miller Environmental Consultants (MEC)
  KB Environmental Sciences, Inc.
  Michael Kent & Associates
  Leann Taagepera Environmental Planning
  Justin Kirkpatrick

The EIR was certified in October 2008, and has subsequently withstood a legal challenge to its accuracy and completeness.

       Return to top.

Masonic Home Independent Living Apartments

Masonic Homes of California is a charitable non–profit organization dedicated to providing residential and health care to aging and infirm California Master Masons and their wives or widows.  The Union City Masonic Home occupies a prominent 308-acre property in the hills overlooking Union City.  Established on the site in 1898, the original building was demolished in 1930 to make way for the large six-story brick structure that presently houses the Masonic Home administration building and living quarters for Masons.  Over time a 25-acre campus was developed in a canyon on the back side of the ridge with a variety of residential and support buildings.  The campus has been determined to be eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources, and the administration building was previously identified as a significant historic property in the 1974 Historic Resource Inventory of Washington Township.

Evaluated by DHA in a detailed Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND), the project, known as Acacia Creek, entailed redevelopment of approximately 11.5 acres of the existing campus with a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).  The project required demolition of a number of existing buildings and other structures, including three vacant apartment buildings, a maintenance building, a brick garage, and an old milking barn.  The CCRC will consist of a complex of buildings providing 192 independent living apartments for seniors, related communal facilities, and a 30–bed memory care/assisted living facility.  The facility is currently under construction.

The project posed many environmental challenges that needed to be identified, evaluated, and addressed through modifications to the project design and a variety of mitigation measures.  A partial list of these challenges included the following:


The main building, ranging from four to six stories and providing 289,486 square feet of occupiable space, will be located on steep slopes (up to 50-percent grade) covered with undocumented fill up to 23 feet thick and extending to at least 27 feet below grade.  This posed site preparation and foundation/building design challenges.  Furthermore, an unstable cut slope with a gradient of approximately 50 percent posed a landslide threat to the proposed main building, requiring mechanical stabilization.


Mass grading entailed movement of approximately 250,000 cubic yards of soil to prepare the site, creating a significant potential for erosion.  However, grading was roughly balanced, precluding the need for extensive importation or exportation of fill.


The main active trace of the Hayward fault crosses the western edge of the Masonic Home campus, and significant surface ruptures on the site occurred during earthquakes in 1836 and 1868.  DHA determined that one of the project buildings would be located within the Alquist–Priolo fault zone associated with this fault, requiring a redesign of the site plan.


A number of underground storage tanks, including two 10,000-gallon tanks, posed buried structural hazards, as well as potential exposure to contaminated soils resulting from a previous unauthorized release of petroleum hydrocarbons.  Measures were identified to address both the potential structural hazards and the hazard from contaminated soils.


The site contains a creek and associated riparian corridor that will be encroached upon by the project.  Nearly 150 trees, including many in the riparian corridor, will be removed by the project.  A total of 0.57 acres of regulated jurisdictional waters of the U.S. exist on the site, occurring along a length of 2,100 linear feet of stream channel.  Permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), and the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) were required for impacts to these resources, including construction of an outfall into the creek.  The IS/MND identified numerous mitigation measures to reduce impacts to biological resources to less-than-significant levels.


Due to the historical significance of the Masonic Home and the proposed removal of numerous buildings older than 50 years old (the standard age threshold for identifying potentially historic structures), the architectural historian Ward Hill was brought in to evaluate potential impacts of the project and identify measures to protect historic resources.  With a modest realignment of the entry drive, potentially significant impacts of the project were avoided.


The Northwest Information Center (NIC) at Sonoma State University conducted an archival records search to identify recorded archaeological sites on or in the vicinity of the project site.  Given the steep and gently sloping terraces, drainage canyons, and tributary creek present on the project site, the NIC concluded that there is a moderate potential for Native American sites to be located in the project area, and recommended further archival and field study.  Accordingly, DHA retained the archaeological consulting firm of Archeo–Tec, Inc. to perform this additional investigation.  During the field investigation, Archeo-Tec encountered a prehistoric archaeological site with lithic and ground-stone materials deposits, including a sandstone hammer stone, in two different locations. 

As a result of these findings, a Phase II field testing/evaluation program was formulated and implemented by Archeo–Tec to perform a subsurface investigation of the two deposit areas.  The Phase II program recovered a total of 42 prehistoric artifacts from Locus A, including 7 hammer–stones; 13 cores, possible choppers, and assayed rocks; 4 flake tools; 8 manos; 2 metates; 3 pestles; and 2 unidentified ground–stones.  In the second location, a large sandstone slab was encountered that appeared to have served a double function: as a mortar on one side, and on its reverse side, as a metate.  More recent historic artifacts, such as fire bricks and mortar fragments, were encountered closer to the ground surface.  

Archeo–Tec concluded that the site appears to have been a seasonally occupied camp used by the Tuibun group of the Ohlone for plant collection and processing, tool making, and hunting.  Locus A no longer preserves any stratigraphic integrity, and the materials recovered from Locus B did not warrant further investigation.  However, the area is considered archaeologically sensitive, and monitoring by an archaeologist was required during all site grading and other ground-disturbing work in the area.

Vineyard Memorial Cemetery, Mortuary, and Mausoleum



Rhodes & Jamieson Aggregate Mines

DHA prepared an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the potential environmental effects of the proposed sand and gravel extraction operations on three parcels located in eastern Alameda County.  In total, the Surface Mining Permit (SMP) and Mining and Reclamation Plan applications addressed the surface mining of approximately 212 acres and the anticipated extraction of approximately 53,354,100 tons of sand and gravel, with mining operations permitted through December 31, 2030.  Following completion of mining operations, Rhodes & Jamieson, the applicant, proposed to engineer the slopes of the mining pits and deed them to the Zone 7 Water Agency for use as water management lakes, adding them to the greater Chain of Lakes area.  The newly created lakes could be used for detention of peak storm flows, as groundwater recharge basins, to store recycled water, and/or for construction of an Arroyo Mocho bypass channel.

DHA evaluated a wide range of potential environmental impacts of the project, including some out-of-the-ordinary impacts.  Due to the proximity of Livermore Airport, we identified a flight hazard to small aircraft flying into or out of Livermore Airport, known as a bird air strike hazard (BASH), related to the attraction of migrating waterfowl and other birds to the water management lakes that would be created following completion of mining activities.  A vegetation management program and biological monitoring were included in the measures identified to reduce the severity of this impact.  Other impacts identified associated with the lakes included increased reflective surfaces creating glare—another potential flight navigation hazard.  DHA also evaluated the project’s potential penetration of a complicated series of imaginary surfaces that are established around an airport by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and evaluated potential conflicts with the Alameda County Airport Land Use Policy Plan.

DHA evaluated the loss of Prime Farmland using the California Department of Conservation’s (DOC) Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) model and thereby identified a significant project impact.  We recommended what we think is a unique approach to mitigating such impacts:  the creation of new prime farmland on an adjacent vacant parcel designated by the DOC as Grazing Land by transferring the topsoil from the parcel designated Prime Farmland, and introducing irrigation, and establishing an agricultural easement on the newly created Prime Farmland acreage to ensure its retention in agricultural use.  This creative approach to mitigation allowed the County to avert designation of the impact as significant and unavoidable.

In addition to these issues described above, the EIR provided a comprehensive evaluation of impacts on aesthetics, biological resources, cultural resources, traffic, air quality, noise, geology and soils, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, and hazards.  Although the Draft EIR was circulated for public review, the Final EIR was not certified by the County because the application was withdrawn.

Return to Top


La Vista Quarry, Aggregate Processing Plant, and Asphalt Concrete Plant


Ford Assembly Building Reuse Project



If you'd like to get more details about procuring the services of DHA, please follow this link to our Contact Us page.


“We have used Doug over the years on a variety of projects and I think the primary reason we continue to use him is because of his understanding of our projects.  His technical expertise is important, but we also appreciate his ability to listen to us and respond to what we really need in an interactive manner, as opposed to someone who just goes off and produces a product, assuming or hoping it is the right thing.  When we hire Doug, the involvement of the subcontractors is seamless, in the sense that we don't have to spend a lot of time dealing with them.  I trust Doug to hire competent people to get the work done that he manages.”

Chris Bazar
Community Development Director
Alameda County





































"Being a sole proprietor, Doug can give detailed attention. He instantly understands every project, and he brings in specialists when he needs them. He can give very personal attention to your project. If he is available, he can give you a very good turnaround. Because he is a small shop he really has to pay close attention to his calendar, and is careful to not over-extend himself, which I appreciate. Doug tends to detail, works to provide people with follow-through, and is responsive, which is one of his strong points."

Joan Malloy
Community Development Director
City of Union City





































Back to Top


Photography by Doug Herring

Copyright © 2007 - 2017, Douglas Herring & Associates, All Rights Reserved