The California Environmental Quality Act (referred to as "CEQA" and found in Section 21000 et. seq. of the State of California Public Resource Code) together with the State CEQA Guidelines promulgated by the California Office of Planning and Research are intended to enhance the long-term protection of the environment and to encourage public participation in the process. They present objectives, criteria, and procedures for the evaluation of projects and the preparation of Categorical Exemptions, Negative Declarations and Environmental Impact Reports.
The basic goal of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is to develop and maintain a high-quality environment now and in the future, while the specific goals of CEQA are for California's public agencies to:
- Identify the significant environmental effects of their actions; and, either
- Avoid those significant environmental effects, where feasible; or
- Mitigate those significant environmental effects, where feasible.
The Planning Department is responsible for overseeing compliance with CEQA as it pertains to private and public development projects. (See Chapter 18.138 of the Land Use Code.). The City adopted its own guidelines, Local Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, which implement CEQA and the State Guidelines. The Guidelines identify the procedures and processes that are used to determine:
- If a project is subject to CEQA;
- The process that is used when a project is subject to CEQA; and
- The various levels of CEQA analyses that may occur with a development project.
For further information regarding CEQA compliance visit http://opr.ca.gov/ceqa/