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Land Use & CEQA

SLO County APCD Roles Under CEQA

1. The Lead Agency, as defined by CEQA, is the public agency that has the primary responsibility for carrying out or approving a project (State CEQA Guidelines Section 15367). To be a CEQA Lead Agency, the public agency must have discretionary authority over the proposed project. The Lead Agency also has the primary responsibility for determining what level of CEQA review is required for a project and for preparing and approving the appropriate document.

As a Lead Agency the SLO County APCD would prepare environmental documents for its own discretionary actions, such as air quality plans and rules, however the SLO County APCD rarely acts as a lead agency.

2. A Responsible Agency under CEQA is a public agency with some discretionary authority over a project or a portion of it, but which has not been designated the Lead Agency (State CEQA Guidelines Section 15381). Because Responsible Agencies will take discretionary actions regarding a project, they are also required to comply with CEQA. For efficiency, CEQA allows Responsible Agencies to rely on a CEQA document prepared by the Lead Agency to meet their CEQA compliance requirements. However, Responsible Agencies must independently review and approve the CEQA document, and not rely automatically on the Lead Agency’s judgments. According to CEQA, a Responsible Agency complies with CEQA “by considering the EIR or negative declaration prepared by the Lead Agency and by reaching its own conclusions on whether and how to approve the project involved” (State CEQA Guidelines Section 15096(a)).

The SLO County APCD is rarely a Responsible Agency and should seldom be named as a Responsible Agency in CEQA documents because the SLO County APCD does not usually independently review and approve CEQA documents.

3. As a Commenting Agency the SLO County APCD reviews projects that may have air quality impacts and evaluates whether the environmental document provides sufficient information and adequate mitigation to alleviate adverse impacts.

The SLO County APCD usually acts as a Commenting Agency. Comments are submitted to Lead Agencies for their consideration. However, the Lead Agency has the primary responsibility for determining what level of CEQA review is required for a project and for preparing and approving the appropriate document.


San Luis Obispo County APCD CEQA Tools

CEQA Handbook and Associated Tools: The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was created to ensure that environmental impacts from new development are addressed and adequately mitigated. The District's CEQA Handbook provides information on the District's significance thresholds for determining potential air quality impacts from proposed residential and commercial development and provides recommendations on the level of mitigation necessary to reduce those impacts. Appendix A to the CEQA Handbook outlines the building permit requirements for facilities potentially subject to air district permitting. The CEQA Handbook was last updated on April 2012. The CEQA Handbook and tools listed below are intended to assist with CEQA reviews.

South County Air Quality Forecast Zone Map

CalEEMod Model: The California Emission Estimator Model (CalEEMod) is the emissions estimation model the District recommends using for landuse project. The model is free and available for download from the link below. The most recent verison of the model should be used.

Final GHG Threshold Supporting Documentation

California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA)

ARB's Air Quality and Land Use Handbook

ARB's Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: As part of the Air Resources Board's (ARB) Community Health Program, they have developed an Air Quality and Land Use Handbook (Handbook) which is intended to serve as a general reference guide for evaluating and reducing air pollution impacts associated with new projects that go through the land use decision-making process. More arrows.gif

ADAM Air Quality Data Statistics

ADAM Air Quality Data Statistics allows user to select and view air quality data for various pollutants throughout the State, including trend summaries, days above the standard, daily stats, 24-hour stats, etc.