Is the project categorically exempt?

WHAT IS A CATEGORICAL EXEMPTION?

  • Categorical exemptions are descriptions of types of projects which the Secretary of the Resources Agency has determined do not usually have a significant effect on the environment.
  • Categorical exemptions are found in Article 19 of the CEQA Guidelines
  • Unlike statutory exemptions, categorical exemptions are not absolute. There are exceptions to the exemptions depending on the nature or location of the project (Guidelines §15300.2).
  • There are approximately 30 "classes" or types of categorical exemptions

COMMONLY USED EXEMPTIONS

  • Class 1 is the "existing facilities" exemption. (Guidelines §15301)
  • Class 2 consists of replacement or reconstruction of existing structures and facilities. (Guidelines §15302)
  • Class 3 consists of construction of small structures. (Guidelines §15303)
  • Class 7 consists of actions taken by regulatory agencies as authorized by state law or local ordinance to assure the maintenance, restoration, or enhancement of a natural resource. (Guidelines §15307)
  • Class 8 consists of actions taken by regulatory agencies to assure the maintenance, restoration, enhancement, or protection of the environment where the regulatory process involves procedures for protection of the environment.(Guidelines §15308)
STATUTORY REFERENCES
Categorical Exemptions Defined | Public Resources Code §21084
Addition or Deletion of Exempt Categories | Public Resources Code §21086
GUIDELINE REFERENCES
Exceptions to Categorical Exemptions | 14 California Code of Regulations §15300.2
Categorical Exemptions | 14 California Code of Regulations §§15301 - 15329
Categorical Exemptions Defined | 14 California Code of Regulations §15354

SELECTED CASE LAW