Use of Previously Prepared Environmental Documentation

Procedures for using an EIR from a [separate] earlier project are:

  • The lead agency shall review the proposed project with an initial study, using incorporation by reference if necessary, to determine whether the EIR would adequately describe:
    • The general environmental setting of the project;
    • The significant environmental impacts of the project; and
    • Alternatives and mitigation measures related to each significant effect.
  • If the lead agency believes that the EIR would meet the requirements of subsection (1), it shall provide public review as provided in Section 15087 stating that it plans to use the previously prepared EIR as the draft EIR for this project. The notice shall include as a minimum:
    • An identification of the project with a brief description;
    • A statement that the agency plans to use a certain EIR prepared for a previous project as the EIR for this project;
    • A listing of places where copies of the EIR may be examined; and
    • A statement that the key issues involving the EIR are whether the EIR should be used for this project and whether there are any additional, reasonable alternatives or mitigation measures that should be considered as ways of avoiding or reducing the significant effects of the project.
  • The lead agency shall prepare responses to comments received during the review period.
  • Before approving the project, the decision-maker in the lead agency shall:
    • Consider the information in the EIR including comments received during the review period and responses to those comments,
    • Decide either on its own or on a staff recommendation whether the EIR is adequate for the project at hand, and
    • Make or require certification to be made as described in Section 15090.
    • Make findings as provided in Sections 15091 and 15093 as necessary.
  • After making a decision on the project, the lead agency shall file a notice of determination.
    • An EIR prepared for an earlier project may also be used as part of an initial study to document a finding that a later project will not have a significant effect. In this situation a negative declaration (ND) will be prepared.
    • An EIR prepared for an earlier project shall not be used as the EIR for a later project if any of the conditions described in Section 15162 would require preparation of a subsequent or supplemental EIR.
  • The new mitigation measure is equivalent or more effective.
  • The mitigated ND need not be re-circulated if the agency considers the matter at a public hearing.
  • The agency adopts a written finding that:
    • The new mitigation measure is equivalent or more effective
    • The new measure will not cause a significant environmental impact upon implementation

Reference: 14 CCR Section 15153

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