What Are Environmental Checklists?
In California, we have an environmental law – California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) – that requires most every proposed project has an assessment of potential environmental impacts. This assessment would evaluate any impacts relative to traffic, sensitive habitat/species, air, noise, cultural, and a few other topics.
The process often starts with an environmental checklist “Part 1”, which may be a form provided by the local jurisdiction. The developer or an environmental consultant will complete the checklist, which usually has a myriad of questions and a box to check. The choices to check could include “Significant Impact”, “Less Than Significant With Mitigation”, “Less Than Significant”, or “No Impact”. The questions will usually address all of the topics noted above, as an initial assessment of environmental impacts.
This Part 1 checklist is then reviewed by the local jurisdiction, as it is usually submitted with your application and plan for development. From there, a discussion and negotiation will ensue as to what are the true impacts and what mitigation measures will be required. From there, a “Part 2” checklist results, which will have added narrative as to the findings, conclusions, and mitigation measures. This Part 2 checklist will be the basis for the environmental document, which could be a Negative Declaration, Mitigated Negative Declaration, or Environmental Impact Report.
The Part 2 checklist and environmental document become part of the Staff Report prepared by the planning department and are presented to the Planning Commission and City Council during the public hearings.
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