Overview of the ECPA Review Process

  1. Pre-application Meeting: While pre-application meetings are not mandatory, they are highly encouraged to provide an opportunity for planning staff and developers to meet and discuss details of a given project, informational needs specific to the project, discussion of review standards, and overall processing details and timelines. The meeting enables planning staff to identify any issues in advance of application submittal to help ensure a complete application is filed and in turn can be reviewed in an expeditious manner.
  2. Technical Review: Upon application submittal, the engineered plan and supporting soil loss and hydrologic modeling is referred to the Engineering Division for technical review to confirm the plan design meets the County design standards required pursuant to General Plan Policies CON-48 and CON-50. This component of the application review typically involves substantial direct interaction between the design engineer and department engineering staff.
  3. 30-day Completeness Determination Letter: Upon application submittal, planning staff conducts a thorough review of the application materials and supporting technical studies to confirm the application is complete. In the event that all application requirements have not been included in the submittal or if there are data gaps or deficiencies in the technical studies, those items are clearly identified and communicated back to the applicant within 30 days of submittal.
  4. Application Complete: Once the applicant provides the informational needs identified in the completeness determination letter, planning staff can conduct a formal review of the project. Formal review includes compliance with the Conservation Regulations, applicable General Plan Goals and Policies, and CEQA.
  5. Preparation of CEQA Document: All technical reports are reviewed and incorporated into the impact analysis for each respective resource topic. A detailed impact analysis is provided for each resource topic and feasible mitigation measures are provided when impacts are determined to be significant. This analysis leads to the preparation of the aforementioned Categorical Exemption, Initial Study/Negative Declaration or Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/ND or MND), or Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
  6. Public Notice and Review: Public notification of the project is provided in the following manner for Initials Studies and EIRs:
    1. Publication at least one time in a newspaper of general circulation in the area potentially impacted;
    2. Mailing of the notice to the owners of all parcels within 1,000 feet of the boundaries of the parcel(s) on which the project is located plus those parcel owners adjacent to areas to be disturbed by off-site work at their last known address on the latest equalized assessment roll;
    3. Mailing of the notice to responsible agencies, trustee agencies, the State Clearinghouse, and the County Clerk/Recorder; and
    4. Mailing of the notice to organizations and individuals who have requested notice in writing.
  7. Response to Comments: Comments received on a project are reviewed and evaluated to examine any environmental issues that were raised. The comments are formally responded to in writing with sufficient details and a reasoned analysis.
  8. ECPA Approval: With adoption of the CEQA document, the project is revised to incorporate applicable mitigation measures and conditions of approval, and the ECPA is formally approved.
  9. Project Initiation and Monitoring: Upon project initiation, the project is monitored to ensure all agreed upon measures and conditions of approval are followed and the ECPA is implemented according to the design details. The project site is also monitored each Fall as part of the County’s winterization program to ensure erosion control measures were installed correctly and are functioning properly.