Determining the Significance in a Change in the Project

Does a Change in the Project Require a New CEQA Document?

A new CEQA document is required when substantial changes are proposed in the project that will require major revisions to the previous environmental document. Substantial changes occur with respect to the circumstances under which the project is undertaken that will require major revision of the previous environmental document because of the potential for involvement of new significant environmental impacts or a potentially substantial increase in the severity of previously identified environmental impacts

The degree to which a project proposal changes may affect the level of significance for an environmental impact more than was assessed in the environmental analysis of the initial study. The degree of significance for which an impact is assessed may be encroached upon by the degree of public scrutiny of the project proposal, the sensitivity of a specific resource or resources based on substantial evidence, and the careful judgment of the public agency involved in the project approval process.

Reference: 14 CCR Section 15064

The threshold that an environmental impact may cross, making it a significant impact, must be identifiable through quantitative, qualitative or performance level measurement in order for that effect to be determined to be significant by the agency with the authority to approve the project. To identify whether that threshold has been met the following terms can be used.

  • Non-compliance with which means the impact will normally be determined to be significant by the agency.
  • Compliance with which means the impact will normally be determined to be less that significant by the agency.

Reference: 14 CCR Sections 15064-7(a)

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