Formal Environmental Evaluation of the Project

Deeming an Application for a Permit Complete

A lead agency is allowed 30 days to review for completeness applications for permits or other entitlements for use. A completed CEQA process is not required to deem a permit application complete.

If an agency has a limited time frame to make a decision on an applicant’s permit that would elapse prior to a completed review of the project under CEQA, the lead agency shall deem the application for the project not received for filing (under the permit statute or ordinance) until the environmental documentation required by CEQA is sufficient to enable the lead agency to finish the CEQA process within the shortened permit time limit.


Is the Permit Application Request a Project Under CEQA?

Once an application is deemed complete, a lead agency must first determine whether a project or activity is subject to CEQA. A project or activity is not subject to CEQA if:

  • The activity does not involve the exercise of discretionary powers by a public agency.
  • The activity will not result in a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment.

Is the Project Subject to CEQA?

If “the activity is covered by the general rule that CEQA applies only to projects, which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. Where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA.”

Reference: 14 CCR Section 15061(b)(3)

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