Environmental Review

What is the process?

Submit Application

The applicant submits a completed application and pays all applicable fees.

Review by Staff

Staff reviews the application to determine whether:

  1. It is not a project;
  2. It is a project and is exempt from CEQA; or
  3. It is a project and it is not exempt from CEQA; however, there is no possibility that it may cause any significant environmental impacts.

If one of the above determinations is made by staff, a notice of exemption is prepared for the project.

Conduct Initial Study (Situational)

If none of the determinations in Step 2 can be made by staff, an initial study (or in some cases, an expanded initial study) is conducted by staff pursuant to CEQA guidelines. If the initial study finds that there is no substantial evidence that the project (or a revised project, as agreed to by the applicant) will not cause any significant environmental impacts, then a negative declaration (or in some cases, a mitigated negative declaration) is prepared. If the initial study finds that any aspect of the project, either individually or cumulatively, may cause a significant environmental impact, an environmental impact report is prepared.

Prepare Document

Based on the results of Step 3, staff (or in some cases, a qualified consultant under contract with the County) prepare either a negative declaration (or in some cases, a mitigated negative declaration) or an environmental impact report.

Review and Comment

The public is given the opportunity to review any comment on draft environmental determinations. The time period allocated for review and comment is based on the type of determination, typically ranging from 30-90 calendar days.

Adopt Determination

The hearing body considers the environmental determination at the same time as project approval. If the hearing body agrees with the environmental determination, it may be adopted concurrently with any project approval.

Who can use this service?

Anyone applying for a permit that requires review under the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and/or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) can use this service.

Is there a charge for this service?

Please refer to the Department of Planning & Building Fee Schedule for application fees.

When and where is this service offered?

This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays.

Frequently Asked Questions


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