Title 14. California Code of Regulations

Chapter 3. Guidelines for Implementation of the

California Environmental Quality Act

 

Article 12. Special Situations

 

Sections 15180 to 15190

 

15180. Redevelopment Projects

 

(a) All public and private activities or undertakings pursuant to or in furtherance of a redevelopment plan constitute a single project, which shall be deemed approved at the time of adoption of the redevelopment plan by the legislative body. The EIR in connection with the redevelopment plan shall be submitted in accordance with Section 33352 of the Health and Safety Code.

 

(b) An EIR on a redevelopment plan shall be treated as a program EIR with no subsequent EIRs required for individual components of the redevelopment plan unless a subsequent EIR or a supplement to an EIR would be required by Section 15162 or 15163.

 

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21090, Public Resources Code.

 

Discussion: This section identifies the special requirements that apply to redevelopment projects. Subsection (a) identifies the statutory requirements that apply in this situation.

 

Subsection (b) is an effort to relate the provisions applying to redevelopment projects to other provisions in CEQA. The language in CEQA Section 21090 providing that a redevelopment plan and undertakings in furtherance thereof are a single project, is consistent with the theory of a program EIR. Case law interpreting program EIRs has provided that the various undertakings in furtherance of a program for which a program EIR was prepared must be analyzed in the light of that program EIR. If the later activities in the program involve no new significant effects beyond those analyzed in the program EIR and are adequately handled by mitigation measures identified in the program EIR, there is no need for further documentation in the EIR process. If, however, a particular activity would involve a new significant effect, then there must be additional CEQA compliance for that effect.

 

This approach is also consistent with Sections 21166 and 21090 which speaks in terms of a single project. They provide that where an EIR has been prepared for a project under CEQA, no subsequent or supplemental EIR shall be required by the Lead Agency or any other Responsible Agency unless one of the three described events occurs.

 

[15181. Removed

 

15182. Residential Projects Pursuant to a Specific Plan

 

(a) Exemption. Where a public agency has prepared an EIR on a specific plan after January 1, 1980, no EIR or negative declaration need be prepared for a residential project undertaken pursuant to and in conformity to that specific plan if the project meets the requirements of this section.

 

(b) Scope. Residential projects covered by this section include but are not limited to land subdivisions, zoning changes, and residential planned unit developments.

 

(c) Limitation. This section is subject to the limitation that if after the adoption of the specific plan, an event described in Section 15162 should occur, this exemption shall not apply until the city or county which adopted the specific plan completes a subsequent EIR or a supplement to an EIR on the specific plan. The exemption provided by this section shall again be available to residential projects after the Lead Agency has filed a Notice of Determination on the specific plan as reconsidered by the subsequent EIR or supplement to the EIR.

 

(c) Fees. The Lead Agency has authority to charge fees to applicants for projects which benefit from this section. The fees shall be calculated in the aggregate to defray but not to exceed the cost of developing and adopting the specific plan including the cost of preparing the EIR.

 

(e) Statute of Limitations. A court action challenging the approval of a project under this section for failure to prepare a supplemental EIR shall be commenced within 30 days after the Lead Agency's decision to carry out or approve the project in accordance with the specific plan.

 

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 65453, Government Code.

 

Discussion: This section is added to reorganize and interpret the special provisions of AB 1151 (Roos) of 1979 dealing with specific plans. This section is necessary to draw attention to Government Code Section 65453.

 

15183. Projects Consistent with a Community Plan or Zoning

 

(a) CEQA mandates that projects which are consistent with the development density established by existing zoning, community plan, or general plan policies for which an EIR was certified shall not require additional environmental review, except as might be necessary to examine whether there are project-specific significant effects which are peculiar to the project or its site. This streamlines the review of such projects and reduces the need to prepare repetitive environmental studies.

 

(b) In approving a project meeting the requirements of this section, a public agency shall limit its examination of environmental effects to those which the agency determines, in an initial study or other analysis:

 

(1) Are peculiar to the project or the parcel on which the project would be located,

 

(2) Were not analyzed as significant effects in a prior EIR on the zoning action, general plan, or community plan, with which the project is consistent,

 

(3) Are potentially significant off-site impacts and cumulative impacts which were not discussed in the prior EIR prepared for the general plan,community plan or zoning action, or

 

(4) Are previously identified significant effects which, as a result of substantial new information which was not known at the time the EIR was certified, are determined to have a more severe adverse impact than discussed in the prior EIR.

 

(c ) If an impact is not peculiar to the parcel or to the project, has been addressed as a significant effect in the prior EIR, or can be substantially mitigated by the imposition of uniformly applied development policies or standards, as contemplated by subdivision (e) below, then an additional EIR need not be prepared for the project solely on the basis of that impact.

 

(d) This section shall apply only to projects which meet the following conditions:

 

(1) The project is consistent with:

 

(A) A community plan adopted as part of a general plan,

 

(B) A zoning action which zoned or designated the parcel on which the project would be located to accommodate a particular density of development, or

 

(C) A general plan of a local agency, and

 

(2) An EIR was certified by the lead agency for the zoning action, the community plan, or the general plan.

 

(e) This section shall limit the analysis of only those significant environmental effects for which:

 

(1) Each public agency with authority to mitigate any of the significant effects on the environment identified in the planning or zoning action undertakes or requires others to undertake mitigation measures specified in the EIR which the lead agency found to be feasible, and

 

(2) The lead agency makes a finding at a public hearing as to whether the feasible mitigation measures will be undertaken.

 

(f) An effect of a project on the environment shall not be considered peculiar to the project or the parcel for the purposes of this section if uniformly applied development policies or standards have been previously adopted by the city or county with a finding that the development policies or standards will substantially mitigate that environmental effect when applied to future projects, unless substantial new information shows that the policies or standards will not substantially mitigate the environmental effect. The finding shall be based on substantial evidence which need not include an EIR. Such development policies or standards need not apply throughout the entire city or county, but can apply only within the zoning district in which the project is located, or within the area subject to the community plan on which the lead agency is relying. Moreover, such policies or standards need not be part of the general plan or any community plan, but can be found within another pertinent planning document such as a zoning ordinance. Where a city or county, in previously adopting uniformly applied development policies or standards for imposition on future projects, failed to make a finding as to whether such policies or standards would substantially mitigate the effects of future projects, the decisionmaking body of the city or county, prior to approving such a future project pursuant to this section, may hold a public hearing for the purpose of considering whether, as applied to the project, such standards or policies would substantially mitigate the effects of the project. Such a public hearing need only be held if the city or county decides to apply the standards or policies as permitted in this section.

 

(g) Examples of uniformly applied development policies or standards include, but are not limited to:

 

(1) Parking ordinances.

 

(2) Public access requirements.

 

(3) Grading ordinances.

 

(4) Hillside development ordinances.

 

(5) Flood plain ordinances.

 

(6) Habitat protection or conservation ordinances.

 

(7) View protection ordinances.

 

(h) An environmental effect shall not be considered peculiar to the project or parcel solely because no uniformly applied development policy or standard is applicable to it.

 

(i) Where the prior EIR relied upon by the lead agency was prepared for a general plan or community plan that meets the requirements of this section, any rezoning action consistent with the general plan or community plan shall be treated as a project subject to this section.

 

(1) "Community plan" is defined as a part of the general plan of a city or county which applies to a defined geographic portion of the total area included in the general plan, includes or references each of the mandatory elements specified in Section 65302 of the Government Code, and contains specific development policies and implementation measures which will apply those policies to each involved parcel.

 

(2) For purposes of this section, "consistent" means that the density of the proposed project is the same or less than the standard expressed for the involved parcel in the general plan, community plan or zoning action for which an EIR has been certified, and that the project complies with the density-related standards contained in that plan or zoning. Where the zoning ordinance refers to the general plan or community plan for its density standard, the project shall be consistent with the applicable plan.

 

(j) This section does not affect any requirement to analyze potentially significant offsite or cumulative impacts if those impacts were not adequately discussed in the prior EIR. If a significant offsite or cumulative impact was adequately discussed in the prior EIR, then this section may be used as a basis for excluding further analysis of that offsite or cumulative impact.

 

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21083.3, Public Resources Code.

 

Discussion: This section implements Public Resources Code Section 21083.3(a) as amended by the Legislature in 1984. Formerly Section 21083.3(a) authorized a limited EIR for residential projects which were consistent with a community plan or zoning. The section was amended to include projects consistent with a general plan for which an EIR has been certified.

 

Public Resources Code section 21083.3 was further amended in 1992 (Chapter 1102) to broaden its application to all qualifying development projects, not simply residential projects. In addition, the conditions which would trigger the application of CEQA to such projects have been expanded to include situations where "substantial new information" shows an effect addressed in the previous EIR will be "more significant" than previously described. Further, uniformly applied standards or policies are negated by substantial new information indicating that they will not offer substantial mitigation.

 

Subsection (f) clarifies that uniformly applied development standards or policies do not have to apply jurisdiction-wide in order to substantially mitigate the impacts of a project. They do have to apply within a zoning district or a community plan. Some ordinances, such as hillside development and floodplain protection zones, are applied only in areas subject to environmental constraints such as steep slopes and flooding. Yet, they establish standards that are uniformly applied within those zoning classifications to mitigate environmental effects. This subsection further provides that if at the time these standards or policies were adopted no finding had been made regarding their use for future projects, such findings may be made after a public hearing for that purpose.

 

15184. State Mandated Local Projects

 

Whenever a state agency issues an order which requires a local agency to carry out a project subject to CEQA, the following rules apply:

 

(a) If an EIR is prepared for the project, the local agency shall limit the EIR to considering those factors and alternatives which will not conflict with the order.

 

(b) If a local agency undertakes a project to implement a rule or regulation imposed by a certified state environmental regulatory program listed in Section 15251, the project shall be exempt from CEQA with regard to the significant effects analyzed in the document prepared by the state agency as a substitute for an EIR. The local agency shall comply with CEQA with regard to any site-specific effect of the project which was not analyzed by the certified state agency as a significant effect on the environment. The local agency need not re-examine the general environmental effects of the state rule or regulation.

 

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Sections 21080, 21080.5, and 21154, Public Resources Code.

 

Discussion: This section brings together two separate provisions dealing with state-mandated local projects. The first provision implements Section 21154 of the statute. This requirement in subsection (a) is straightforward and needs little interpretation.

 

This section exempts the local agency from complying with CEQA as to any effects as discussed as significant in an EIR substitute document prepared by a state environmental regulatory agency certified under Section 21080.5 of CEQA. The local agency would still need to comply with CEQA with regard to any site-specific effects of the project which were not analyzed as significant effects by the certified state agency. The main benefit to local agencies from this provision is that it frees them from the need to re-examine the purpose and general environmental effects of the state rule or regulation. This purpose and general effect are matters outside the hands of the local agency. The section makes it clear that the local agency need not reconsider these matters.

 

15185. Administrative Appeals

 

(a) Where an agency allows administrative appeals upon the adequacy of an environmental document, an appeal shall be handled according to the procedures of that agency. Public notice shall be handled in accordance with individual agency requirements and Section 15202(e).

 

(b) The decision-making body to which an appeal has been made shall consider the environmental document and make findings under Sections 15091 and 15093 if appropriate.

 

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Sections 21082 and 21083, Public Resources Code.

 

Discussion: This section deals with the problem of how to handle appeals from decisions for which an EIR or Negative Declaration was prepared under CEQA. Subsection (a) relies on the procedures which individual agencies have adopted for appeals. Subsection (b) identifies the requirement for the body hearing the appeal to consider the EIR or Negative Declaration and make findings if necessary in the same way as the original decision-making body.

 

15186. School Facilities.

 

(a) CEQA establishes a special requirement for certain school projects, as well as certain projects near schools, to ensure that potential health impacts resulting from exposure to hazardous materials, wastes, and substances will be carefully examined and disclosed in a negative declaration or EIR, and that the lead agency will consult with other agencies in this regard.

 

(b) When a project located within one-fourth mile of a school involves the construction or alteration of a facility which might reasonably be anticipated to emit hazardous or acutely hazardous air emissions, or which would handle acutely hazardous material or a mixture containing acutely hazardous material in a quantity equal to or greater than that specified in subdivision (a) of Section 25536 of the Health and Safety Code, which may impose a health or safety hazard to persons who would attend or would be employed at the school, the lead agency must:

 

(1) Consult with the affected school district or districts regarding the potential impact of the project on the school when circulating the proposed negative declaration or draft EIR for review.

 

(2) Notify the affected school district of the project, in writing, not less than 30 days prior to approval or certification of the negative declaration or EIR. This subdivision does not apply to projects for which an application was submitted prior to January 1, 1992.

 

(c) When the project involves the purchase of a school site or the construction of a secondary or elementary school, the negative declaration or EIR prepared for the project shall not be approved or certified by the school board unless:

 

(1) The negative declaration or EIR contains sufficient information to determine whether the property is:

 

(A) The site of a current or former hazardous waste or solid waste disposal facility and, if so, whether wastes have been removed.

 

(B) A hazardous substance release site identified by the Department of Toxic Substances Control in a current list adopted pursuant to Section 25356 of the Health and Safety Code for removal or remedial action pursuant to Chapter 6.8 (commencing with Section 25300) of Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code.

 

(C) The site of one or more buried or above ground pipelines which carry hazardous substances, acutely hazardous materials, or hazardous wastes, as defined in Division 20 of the Health and Safety Code. This does not include a natural gas pipeline used only to supply the school or neighborhood.

 

(2) The lead agency has notified in writing and consulted with the county or city administering agency (as designated pursuant to Section 25502 of the Health and Safety Code) and with any air pollution control district or air quality management district having jurisdiction, to identify facilities within one-fourth mile of the proposed school site which might reasonably be anticipated to emit hazardous emissions or handle hazardous or acutely hazardous material, substances, or waste. The notice shall include a list of the school sites for which information is sought. Each agency or district receiving notice shall provide the requested information and provide a written response to the lead agency within 30 days of receiving the notification. If any such agency or district fails to respond within that time, the negative declaration or EIR shall be conclusively presumed to comply with this section as to the area of responsibility of that agency.

 

(3) The school board makes, on the basis of substantial evidence, one of the following written findings:

 

(A) Consultation identified none of the facilities specified in paragraph (2).

 

(B) The facilities specified in paragraph (2) exist, but one of the following conditions applies:

 

1. The health risks from the facilities do not and will not constitute an actual or potential endangerment of public health to persons who would attend or be employed at the proposed school.

 

2. Corrective measures required under an existing order by another agency having jurisdiction over the facilities will, before the school is occupied, mitigate all chronic or accidental hazardous air emissions to levels that do not constitute any actual or potential public health danger to persons who would attend or be employed at the proposed school. When the school district board makes such a finding, it shall also make a subsequent finding, prior to occupancy of the school, that the emissions have been so mitigated.

 

This finding shall be in addition to any findings which may be required pursuant to Sections 15074, 15091 or 15093.

 

(d) When the lead agency has carried out the consultation required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), the negative declaration or EIR shall be conclusively presumed to comply with this section, notwithstanding any failure of the consultation to identify an existing facility.

 

(e) The following definitions shall apply for the purposes of this section:

 

(1) "Acutely hazardous material," is as defined in 22 C.C.R. 66260.10.

 

(2) "Administering agency," is as defined in Section 25501 of the Health and Safety Code.

 

(3) "Hazardous air emissions," is as defined in subdivisions (a) to (f), inclusive, of Section 44321 of the Health and Safety Code.

 

(4) "Hazardous substance," is as defined in Section 25316 of the Health and Safety Code.

 

(5) "Hazardous waste," is as defined in Section 25117 of the Health and Safety Code.

 

(6) "Hazardous waste disposal site," is as defined in Section 25114 of the Health and Safety Code.

 

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code. References: Sections 21151.4 and 21151.8, Public Resources Code.

 

Discussion: CEQA contains requirements applicable to school projects and projects proposed near schools which are intended to limit the exposure of school children and others to toxic or hazardous substances. This section brings the requirements of Public Resources Code sections 21151.4 and 21151.8 together in a single place for ease of reference.

 

15187. Environmental Review of New Rules and Regulations

 

(a) At the time of the adoption of a rule or regulation requiring the installation of pollution control equipment, establishing a performance standard, or establishing a treatment requirement, the California Air Resources Board, Department of Toxic Substances Control, Integrated Waste Management Board, State Water Resources Control Board, all regional water quality control boards, and all air pollution control districts and air quality management districts, as defined in Section 39025 of the Health and Safety Code, must perform an environmental analysis of the reasonably foreseeable methods by which compliance with that rule or regulation will be achieved.

 

(b) If an EIR is prepared by the agency at the time of adoption of a rule or regulation, it satisfies the requirements of this section provided that the document contains the information specified in subdivision (c) below. Similarly, for those State agencies whose regulatory programs have been certified by the Resources Agency pursuant to Section 21080.5 of the Public Resources Code, an environmental document prepared pursuant to such programs satisfies the requirements of this section, provided that the document contains the information specified in subdivision (c) below.

 

(c) The environmental analysis shall include at least the following:

 

(1) An analysis of reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts of the methods of compliance;

 

(2) An analysis of reasonably foreseeable feasible mitigation measures relating to those impacts; and

 

(3) An analysis of reasonably foreseeable alternative means of compliance with the rule or regulation, which would avoid or eliminate the identified impacts.

 

(d) The environmental analysis shall take into account a reasonable range of environmental, economic, and technical factors, population and geographic areas, and specific sites. The agency may utilize numerical ranges and averages where specific data is not available, but is not required to, nor should it, engage in speculation or conjecture.

 

(e) Nothing in this section shall require the agency to conduct a project level analysis.

 

(f) Nothing in this section is intended, or may be used, to delay the adoption of any rule or regulation for which this section requires an environmental analysis.

 

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; References: Sections 21159 and 21159.4, Public Resources Code.

 

Discussion: This section provides that an environmental assessment must be prepared prior to the enactment of specified regulations and outlines the minimum contents of such an assessment. An EIR may be substituted for this assessment when otherwise available, but this section does not mandate preparation of an EIR.

 

15188. Focused EIR for Pollution Control Equipment

 

This section applies to projects consisting solely of the installation of pollution control equipment and other components necessary to the installation of that equipment which are undertaken for the purpose of complying with a rule or regulation which was the subject of an environmental analysis as described in Section 15187.

 

(a) The lead agency for the compliance project may prepare a focused EIR to analyze the effects of that project when the following occur:

 

(1) the agency which promulgated the rule or regulation certified an EIR on that rule or regulation, or reviewed it pursuant to an environmental analysis prepared under a certified regulatory program and, in either case, the review included an assessment of growth inducing impacts and cumulative impacts of, and alternatives to, the project;

 

(2) the focused EIR for the compliance project is certified within five years of the certified EIR or environmental analysis required by subdivision (a)(1); and

 

(3) the EIR prepared in connection with the adoption of the rule or regulation need not be updated through the preparation of a subsequent EIR or supplemental EIR pursuant to section 15162 or section 15163.

 

(b) The discussion of significant environmental effects in the focused EIR shall be limited to project-specific, potentially significant effects which were not discussed in the environmental analysis required under Section 15187. No discussion of growth-inducing or cumulative impacts is required. Discussion of alternatives shall be limited to alternative means of compliance, if any, with the rule or regulation.

 

Note: Authority: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21159.1, Public Resources Code.

 

Discussion: This section applies to lead agencies which are permitting projects consisting of the installation of pollution control equipment where a regulatory agency has already prepared an environmental assessment or EIR under section 15187 for the rule or regulation mandating such equipment. If an EIR is required in order to analyze the effects of complying with the rule or regulation, the lead agency may prepare a focused EIR when the environmental assessment or EIR prepared by the regulatory agency for the rule or regulation included an assessment of the growth inducing impacts and cumulative impacts of, and alternatives to, the project. If no EIR is necessary for the compliance project, this section does not apply.

 

15189. Compliance with Performance Standard or Treatment Requirement Rule or Regulation

 

This section applies to projects consisting solely of compliance with a performance standard or treatment requirement which was the subject of an environmental analysis as described in Section 15187.

 

(a) If preparing a negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration or EIR on the compliance project the lead agency for the compliance project shall, to the greatest extent feasible, use the environmental analysis prepared pursuant to Section 15187. The use of numerical averages or ranges in the environmental analysis prepared under Section 15187 does not relieve the lead agency on the compliance project from its obligation to identify and evaluate the environmental effects of the project.

 

(b) Where the lead agency determines that an EIR is required for the compliance project, the EIR need address only the project-specific issues or other issues that were not discussed in sufficient detail in the environmental analysis prepared under Section 15187. The mitigation measures imposed by the lead agency shall be limited to addressing the significant effects on the environment of the compliance project. The discussion of alternatives shall be limited to a discussion of alternative means of compliance, if any, with the rule or regulation.

 

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21159.2, Public Resources Code.

 

Discussion: This section enables the lead agency for a compliance project to tier a negative declaration or EIR for that project on the environmental analysis prepared by the regulatory agency which promulgated the underlying rule or regulation which prompts the compliance project.

 

15190. Deadlines for Compliance with Sections 15188 and 15189

 

(a) The lead agency for a compliance project under either Section 15188 or Section 15189 shall determine whether an EIR or negative declaration should be prepared within 30 days of its determination that the application for the project is complete.

 

(b) Where the EIR will be prepared under contract to the lead agency for the compliance project, the agency shall issue a request for proposal for preparation of the EIR not later than 30 days after the deadline for response to the notice of preparation has expired. The contract shall be awarded within 30 days of the response date on the request for proposals.

 

Note: Authority cited: Section 21083, Public Resources Code; Reference: Section 21159.3, Public Resources Code.