Draft CEQA Guidelines Update for Infill Projects

The Natural Resources Agency has forwarded the final proposed Infill Guidelines, Public Resources Code sections 21095.6 and 21094.5.5, to the Office of Administrative Law. The OAL’s deadline to complete review and approval of the new Guidelines sections is February 19, 2013.

The proposed Guidelines originated at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The Natural Resources Agency modified the original text of the Guidelines before forwarding them to the Office of Administrative Law.  The changes to the Guidelines are summarized below. 

  • Section 15183.3(c) was modified to clarify that streamlining is permitted even where the effects of the infill project were not reduced to less-than-significant levels in the prior EIR.
  • Section 15183.3(d)(1)(C) was modified to clarify that the inability to determine the significance of effects due to lack of project-specific information may trigger the need for additional review.
  • Section 151583.3(f)(3) was modified to clarify that parcels which were recently converted for agricultural use are not eligible for streamlining, but that agricultural use at some point in a parcel’s history will not automatically preclude it from eligibility. This clarification reserves for the lead agency some discretion to consider this issue in light of the entire record.
  • Appendix M’s definition of “Low Vehicle Travel Area” was modified to mean a traffic analysis zone that exhibits a below average existing level of travel as determined using a regional demand model. Similarly, the definition of “Low-Income Housing” in Appendix M was modified to mean “[a] residential or mixed use project consisting of 300 or fewer residential units all of which are affordable to low income households is eligible if the developer of the development project provides sufficient legal commitments to the lead agency to ensure the continued availability and use of the housing units for lower income households, as defined the Health and Safety Code, for a period of at least 30 years.” Finally, the definition of “Proximity to a Major Transit Stop” was changed to state that  “[o]ffice buildings, both commercial and public, within ½ mile of an existing major transit stop, or ¼ mile of an existing stop along a high quality transit corridor, are eligible.”

Once finalized, the regulations will be effective immediately.