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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.

Guidance for Land Use Decisions

Health risk from diesel particulate matter

Health Risk from Nearby Diesel Trucks and Locomotives
Development adjacent to high-volume roadways and railroads where mobile sources produce diesel particulate matter can present health risks to sensitive receptors. Diesel particulate matter has been classified by the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) as a toxic air contaminant and a carcinogen. Because of this, the APCD does not support sensitive receptor development near Highway 101 and railroads. Non-sensitive uses and developments such as commercial, parking lots and offices in which occupants are exposed to the health risk for a shorter duration—are better suited to be nearest to Highway 101 and railroads. Health risk decreases with decreased rate of exposure to the toxic source.

Should projects continue, the APCD recommends the following:

  • Orient the sensitive receptor as far back as possible from the toxic source, which will directly reduce cancer risk;
  • Incorporate strategies stated in Table 1 from the California Air Resource Board’s technical advisory document Strategies to Reduce Air Pollution Exposure Near High-Volume Roadways;
  • Note: Implementing strategies such as air filtration systems, sound walls, and vegetation barriers have not been proven to be as effective as moving a sensitive receptor farther from the toxic source;
  • Disclose potential health risks from US Highway 101 to the future sensitive receptors for informational purposes.

Further, residential units sited near pollution sources are generally lower in market value, indicating it is possible residential homes would become affordable to lower-income populations. Low-income community members often face existing health disparities, so siting housing near pollution sources which has a possibility to become affordable may need further consideration (See Page 57 of the CARB’s 2017 Scoping Plan update). To be in alignment with State goals, specifically Assembly Bill 617 which aims to reduce exposure of toxic air contaminants in low-income and disadvantaged communities and protect public health, housing that could become affordable should be sited in a fair environmentally just way meaning “No group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies” (See EPA webpage – Learn about Environmental Justice). It is important to consider that land use decisions now could create a neighborhood that may bear more of the environmental consequences that come from pollution sources.

Infill within and outside urban and village reserve lines

Infill within Urban Reserve Lines & Village Reserve Lines
The APCD encourages balance of residential and commercial infill within the existing urban reserve lines (URLs) and village reserve lines (VRLs), as this is consistent with the land use goals and policies of the APCD’s Clean Air Plan. Increasing density can reduce emissions and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by minimizing the number of trips and travel distances and encourage active transportation. The APCD supports the use of infill development, as it is consistent with SLOCOG’s Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy.

Subdivision or Lot Splits Outside Urban & Village Reserve Lines
The APCD is concerned with the continued small lot fracturing of lands outside of the urban and village reserve line which is inconsistent with the land use planning strategies in our Clean Air Plan (CAP). Our CAP calls for these parcels to not be spilt below 20 acres in size and instead promotes the concept of urban infill by directing growth to areas within the existing URL/VRL boundaries. Mobile sources are the largest contributor to air pollution in our county and rural parcel split projects fosters continued dependency on private auto use as the primary means of accessing essential services and other destinations. For these reasons, the APCD does not support this type of projects.

Support or opposition to mixed-use developments

Support of Mixed-Use Development
The APCD encourages mixed-use development. When people can walk or bike to nearby businesses or parks, traffic is reduced, and we create healthy communities. This is consistent with several of the APCD's land use goals and policies in the Clean Air Plan and helps meet the SB 32 and SB 375 emission reduction targets set by California legislation and the California Air Resources Board.

Incompatible Mix of Land Uses
As individual projects move forward; it is important to keep in mind that some uses may not be compatible and could result in potential nuisance problems (i.e. odors and/or dust). Therefore, it is essential that individual uses be carefully evaluated prior to issuance of a use permit. The following uses could be problematic if residential quarters are included in the same building.

  • Nail Salons
  • Dry Cleaners
  • Coffee Roasters
  • Gasoline Stations
  • Furniture refurbishing/refinishing
  • Any type of Spray Paint Operation
  • Commercial open wood cooking ovens and stoves

 

Information for Specific Projects (developing near or constructing new schools, cannabis, and wineries)

Constructing New Schools

New School Sites
The Public Resources Code Sec. 21151.8 requires any agency preparing an Environmental Impact Report or negative declaration for a proposed school site to consult with the city, county, and the APCD to identify both permitted and non-permitted facilities within one-quarter mile of the proposed school site which may emit hazardous air emissions or handle hazardous materials (e.g., pipelines). Impacts from such a facility may be significant due to increased cancer risk for the affected population, even at a very low level of emissions. If a potentially hazardous facility is within one-quarter mile of the new school site, the APCD may require a risk assessment to determine the potential level of risk associated with that school location. Information on permitted facilities is available by contacting the APCD Engineering & Compliance Division.

Developing Near Schools

School Notification - APCO Required to Notify Nearby Sensitive Receptors
Projects within 1,000 feet from the outer boundary of a school site are subject to California Health & Safety Code 42301.6. The APCO is required by law to take several actions before a final decision is made on the applicant’s permit to construct. These actions include preparing and sending a public notice to parents or guardians of children enrolled in a school that is located within one-quarter mile of the proposed new or modified source and to each address within a radius of 1,000 feet of the source at least 30 days prior to the date final action on the application is to be taken by the officer. To minimize potential delays, prior to the start of the project, please contact the APCD Engineering & Compliance Division for more specific information regarding permitting requirements.
 

Cannabis Projects

Cannabis Waste Burning is Prohibited
The Federal Government categorizes cannabis as a controlled substance; therefore, crop waste from the agricultural growing of cannabis is not eligible for an APCD burn permit and cannabis waste burning is prohibited. Verified burning of cannabis is subject to enforcement action.

Nuisance – Manufacturing/Processing & Masking/Neutralizing of Cannabis
The following are subject to the APCD’s Nuisance Rule 402 and may result in enforcement action:

  • Verified nuisance odors from manufacturing/processing; or,
  • Verified nuisance odors from masking/neutralizing agents used to control or eliminate odors related to the growing and/or manufacturing/processing of cannabis.
     

Permit – Manufacturing/Processing & Masking/Neutralizing of Cannabis
The following are subject to the APCD’s permitting requirements:

  • All cannabis manufacturing/processing facilities.
       -   Must submit an APCD Cannabis Manufacturing/Processing Authority to Construct (ATC) application prior to commencing manufacturing/processing.
       -   Prior to applying for an ATC, all facilities shall have a manufacturing license with the California Department of Public Health Manufactured Cannabis 
           Safety Branch.
  • All masking/neutralizing agents used to control or eliminate odors related to the growing and/or manufacturing/processing of cannabis.

Wineries

Nuisance Odors from Wineries
Wine production facilities can generate nuisance odors during various steps of the process. Proven methods for handling wastewater discharge and grape skin waste need to be incorporated into the winery practices to reduce off-site odor. Odor complaints could result in a violation of the SLO County APCD Rule 402, Nuisance.

Permit - Agricultural Burning
An APCD Agricultural Burn Permit is required to burn agricultural vegetation on Permissive Burn Days. For more information on agricultural burning, visit the following APCD webpage: slocleanair.org/rules-regulations/agriculture/burning.

Operational Permit Requirements
New wineries or expanding wineries with the capacity of 26,000 gallons (10,000 cases at twelve 750 milliliter bottles per case) year or more require a Permit to Operate for fermentation and storage of wine.

Operational Phase Exceedance From Dirt Roads
Based on the APCD’s spreadsheet modeling for estimating operational dust emissions from daily traffic on unmitigated unpaved roads,driveways, parking areas, and special events, winery projects could exceed the APCD’s daily operational particulate matter (PM10) emissions threshold identified in Table 3-2 of the CEQA Air Quality Handbook (April 2012). The modeling uses the California Air Resources Board’s unpaved road emission factor that is used in their statewide emissions inventory and there is a screening table reference available at: slocleanair.org/rules-regulations/land-use-ceqa.php. If a project will exceed the threshold, the APCD recommends that the project implement the on-site PM10 mitigation measures listed below.

Mitigate the unpaved access roads, driveways, and parking areas by implementing one of the following:

  • For the life of the project, pave and maintain the roads, driveways, and/or parking areas; or
  • For the life of the project, maintain the unpaved roads, driveways, and/or parking areas with a dust suppressant (See Technical Appendix 4.3 of the APCD’s CEQA Handbook for a list of APCD-approved suppressants) such that fugitive dust emissions do not exceed the APCD 20% opacity limit for greater than 3 minutes in any 60-minute period (APCD Rule 401) or prompt nuisance violations (APCD Rule 402). Also, to improve the dust suppressant’s long-term efficacy, the applicant shall also implement and maintain design standards to ensure vehicles that use the on-site unpaved road are physically limited (e.g., speed bumps) to a posted speed limit of 15 mph or less.

In addition, special events can also trigger a PM10 exceedance. The following special event mitigation shall be implemented for unpaved access roads, driveways, and parking areas on the day(s) of a special event:

  • Any unpaved site access road(s), driveway(s), that will be used for the special event shall be maintained with an APCD-approved dust suppressant (see Technical Appendix 4.3 of the APCD’s CEQA Handbook) such that fugitive dust emissions do not exceed the APCD 20% opacity limit for greater than 3 minutes in any 60-minute period (APCD Rule 401) or prompt nuisance violations (APCD Rule 402).
     
  • Designated parking locations shall be:
    - Paved when possible;
    - Planted and maintained with fast germinating, non-invasive grass or low-cut dense vegetation; or,
    - Maintained with a dust suppressant such that fugitive dust emissions do not exceed the APCD 20% opacity limit or create nuisance.
  • General site design: To improve the dust suppressant’s efficacy during and between events, the applicant shall also implement and maintain design standards to ensure vehicles that use on-site unpaved roads are physically limited (e.g., speed bumps) to a posted speed limit of 15 mph or less.

If the project’s access involves a city or county owned and maintained road, the applicant shall work with the applicable Public Works Department to ensure that the mitigation follows the agency’s road standards for that section of road. The applicant may propose other measures of equal effectiveness as replacements by contacting the APCD’s Planning Division.

 

Permitting Information and APCD Rules

Permitting Information

Permit - Agricultural Burning
An APCD Agricultural Burn Permit is required to burn agricultural vegetation on Permissive Burn Days. For more information on agricultural burning, visit the following APCD webpage: slocleanair.org/rules-regulations/agriculture/burning.

Construction Permit Requirements
Portable equipment, 50 horsepower (hp) or greater, used during construction activities may require California statewide portable equipment registration (issued by the California Air Resources Board) or an APCD permit. The following list is provided as a guide to equipment and operations that may have permitting requirements but should not be viewed as an exclusive list. For a more detailed listing, please refer to the following webpage: slocleanair.org/library/download-forms.

  • Power screens, conveyors, diesel engines, and/or crushers;
  • Portable generators and equipment with engines that are 50 hp or greater;
  • Electrical generation plants or the use of standby generators;
  • Internal combustion engines;
  • Rock and pavement crushing;
  • Unconfined abrasive blasting operations;
  • Tub grinders;
  • Trommel screens; and
  • Portable plants (e.g., aggregate plant, asphalt batch plant, concrete batch plant, etc).

Operational Permit Requirements
Operational sources may require APCD permits. The following list is provided as a guide to equipment and operations that may have permitting requirements but should not be viewed as exclusive. For a more detailed listing, please refer to the following webpage: slocleanair.org/library/download-forms.

  • Portable generators and equipment with engines that are 50 hp or greater;
  • New wineries or expanding wineries with the capacity of 26,000 gallons (10,000 cases at twelve 750 milliliter bottles per case) year or more require a Permit to Operate for fermentation and storage of wine;
  • Chemical product processing and or manufacturing;
  • Electrical generation plants or the use of standby generator;
  • Food and beverage preparation (primarily coffee roasters);
  • Furniture and fixture products;
  • Metal industries, fabrication;
  • Small scale manufacturing;
  • Auto and vehicle repair and painting facilities;
  • Fuel dealers;
  • Dry cleaning;
  • Pipelines;
  • Public utility facilities;
  • Boilers;
  • Internal combustion engines;
  • Sterilization units(s) using ethylene oxide and incinerator(s);
  • Cogeneration facilities;
  • Unconfined abrasive blasting operations;
  • Concrete batch plants;
  • Rock and pavement crushing;
  • Tub grinders; and
  • Trommel screens.

Most facilities applying for an Authority to Construct or Permit to Operate with stationary diesel engines greater than 50 hp, should be prioritized or screened for facility wide health risk impacts. A diesel engine-only facility limited to 20 non-emergency operating hours per year or has demonstrated to have overall diesel particulate emissions less than or equal to 2 lb./yr. does not need to do additional health risk assessment.

Nuisance Information

Nuisance
As defined in APCD’s Rule 402, a person shall not discharge, from any source whatsoever, such quantities of air contaminant or other material which cause injury, detriment, nuisance, or annoyance to any considerable number of persons or to the public, or which endanger the comfort, repose, health or safety of any such persons or public, or which cause or have a natural tendency to cause, injury or damage to business or property. If this project causes nuisance impacts, the project proponent needs to proactively take steps to reduce these impacts.

Nuisance - Equestrian Facility
To minimize nuisance impacts and to reduce fugitive dust emissions from equestrian facilities the following mitigation measures should be incorporated into the project:

  • Reduce the amount of the disturbed area where possible;
  • Use water trucks or sprinkler systems in sufficient quantities to prevent airborne dust emissions from exceeding the APCD 20% opacity limit for greater than 3 minutes in any 60-minute period (APCD Rule 401) or prompt nuisance violations (APCD Rule 402). Increased watering frequency whenever wind speeds exceed 15 mph. Reclaimed (non-potable) water shall be used whenever possible;
  • Permanent dust control measures shall be implemented as soon as possible following completion of any soil disturbing activities;
  • All disturbed soil areas not subject to revegetation shall be stabilized using approved chemical soil binders, jute netting, or other methods approved in advance by the APCD;
  • All access roads and parking areas associated with the facility shall be paved to reduce fugitive dust; and
  • A person or persons shall be designated to monitor for dust and implement additional control measures as necessary to prevent transport of dust offsite. The monitor's duties shall include holidays and weekend. The name and telephone number of such persons shall be provided to the APCD prior to operation of the arena.

Nuisance - Fire Pits
Recreational burning is not regulated by the APCD, but smoke from recreational fires such as backyard fire pits, bonfires, and campfires may negatively impact the health of nearby communities and may trigger complaints. Complaints of this type will be investigated & enforced according to APCD Rule 402, Nuisance. Local Fire Authorities may have additional requirements associated with recreational burning.

Rules

Developmental Burning
APCD Rule 501 prohibits developmental burning of vegetative material within San Luis Obispo County.

Residential Wood Combustion
Residential wood burning devices such as wood or pellet stoves or inserts installed in new dwelling units after May 15, 2020 shall have particulate matter emission rates not exceeding 2.0 g/hr. and must be certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Step 2” New Source Performance Standard. The list of EPA certified wood stoves and inserts can be found at epa.gov/compliance/epa-certified-wood-heater-database. Additionally, residential wood burning devices such as fireplaces must comply with APCD Rule 504 to be eligible for installation in new dwelling units. The APCD encourages the use of lower emission heating alternatives that can be used in place of wood burning devices.
 

 

Calculating Construction Emissions for Project Level Review

There are a few SLO County APCD approved ways to calculate construction emissions for a given project. The first level of analysis for a project is to compare it to Table 1-1 in the SLO County APCD’s CEQA Air Quality Handbook. Although the intent of Table 1-1 is to screen a project’s size against operational threshold values, the SLO County APCD has calculated that if a project is under operational thresholds, the project will likely be under construction thresholds as well.

Note: The stated GHG Numerical Threshold column and its values are no longer valid. Projects should be compared to the ROG + NOx threshold column and values only.

If the project’s size exceeds the unit of measure listed, a more refined analysis of air quality impacts would be necessary. However, Table 1-1 screening is not applicable to:

  • mixed land use projects;
  • projects with land uses that are not listed in Table 1-1; and,
  • projects that involve heavy-duty diesel activity and/or fugitive dust emissions, such as soil remediation, road or infrastructure, and energy or extractive resource projects.

For projects that require a more refined analysis, the next level of specificity in defining construction emissions involves the use of the most recent version of the California Emissions Estimator Model (CalEEMod). This model contains emission factors for a variety of construction equipment. It will automatically generate default values for various parameters. When modeling project emissions, the user must specify that the project is located in SLO County so that the appropriate default values are used for the modeling. If more detailed information about the construction phase of the project is known, the default values should be modified to reflect the anticipated emissions more accurately. CalEEMod reports submitted as part of a CEQA evaluation need to include the following:

  • a winter, summer, and annual report;
  • the model files associated with the reports; and, 
  • changes to any SLO County defaults need to be identified and a solid defensible explanation for those changes needs to be provided to the SLO County APCD.

CalEEMod will not automatically calculate import or export off-site hauling trips and associated emissions. If soil or demolition materials will need to be hauled off-site or materials will be imported, cubic yards of material and the number of truck trips will need to be entered into the model. The trip length associated with hauling also needs to be entered into the model along with a detailed explanation of the trip length. Specific truck emission factors for the hauling fleet should be included in the simulation if known. If the specific fleet is unknown at time of modeling, then a defensible worst case set of hauling fleet emission factors shall be used. This hauling component is an important step and is often overlooked resulting in under estimation of emissions.

Comparing Construction Emissions to Thresholds and Applying Mitigation

 The grading area and the calculated construction emissions should be compared to SLO County APCD Thresholds of Significance displayed in the table below:

If the above thresholds are exceeded, mitigation measures for construction emissions shall be applied to reduce construction impacts. The below table is a quick guide displaying construction mitigation measures and their applicability. For a more expansive guide with further explanation click this link

Quick Guide for SLO County APCD Construction Mitigation Measures

Construction Phase Mitigation Measures

Mitigation Measure Applicability
Fugitive Dust Mitigation Measures: Standard List Use if project is < 4 acres and not within 1,000 of sensitive receptor (1)
Fugitive Dust Mitigation Measures: Expanded List Use if project is > 4 acres and/or within 1,000 of sensitive receptor (1)
South County Particulate Matter Standard Measures Only for South County Projects in NRP Zone
South County Particulate Matter Expanded Measures Only for South County Projects in the CDF or Mesa 2 Zone
Standard Mitigation Measures for Construction Equipment

Use if project meets any of the following: 

  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Daily threshold
  • Lasts fewer than 90 days and exceeds DPM Daily Threshold
  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Quarterly threshold
  • Lasts more than 90 days and exceeds DPM Daily threshold
  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Quarterly Tier 2 threshold
  • Lasts more than 90 days and exceeds DPM Quarterly Tier 2 threshold
Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for Construction Equipment

Use if project meets any of the following after Standard Mitigation Measures are applied: 

  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Quarterly Tier 1 threshold
  • Lasts more than 90 days and exceeds DPM Tier 1 Quarterly threshold
  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Quarterly Tier 2 threshold
  • Lasts more than 90 days and exceeds DPM Quarterly Tier 2 threshold
Construction Activity Management Plan (CAMP)

Use if project meets and of the following after Standard Mitigation Measures and BACT Measures are applied: 

  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Quarterly Tier 2 threshold
  • Lasts more than 90 days and exceeds DPM Quarterly Tier 2 threshold
  • Exceeds Fugitive PM10 Quarterly Tier 1 threshold (in some cases) (2)
Construction Phase Offsite Mitigation

Use if project meets any of the following after Standard Mitigation and BACT Measures are applied: 

  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Tier 1 threshold (if feasible mitigations are not implemented, or no mitigation measures are feasible)
  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Quarterly Tier 2 threshold
  • Lasts more than 90 days and exceeds DPM Tier 2 threshold (To the extent feasible, DPM should be mitigation on-site)

(1) Sensitive receptor locations include schools, parks, playgrounds, day care centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and residential dwelling units. 
(2) A CAMP would be required for projects that do not exceed ROG+NOx and/or DPM Tier 2 thresholds but still exceed the PM10 Tier 1 threshold due to heavy earthwork. 

Special Conditions to limit exposure of emission-related health risks during the construction phase.

In addition to the construction mitigation measures defined above, there are a number of special conditions, local regulations or state/federal rules that may apply to a given project. The below table is a quick guide displaying special conditions and their applicability. For a more expansive guide with further explanation click this link.

Quick Guide for SLO County APCD Construction Special Conditions

Construction Phase Special Conditions

Special Condition Applicability
Limits of Idling during Construction Phase Use when sensitive receptor (1) is within 1,000 feet and diesel-powered equipment will be used
Proper Abatement of Asbestos-Containing Material (ACM) (2) Use if project will be demolishing or remodeling
Proper Abatement of Lead-Based Coated Structures (2) Use if project will be demolishing, remodeling, sandblasting, or removing paint with a heat gun
Naturally Occurring Asbestos on Site (2) Use if project site is within 1 mile of serpentine deposit (NOA Map)

(1) Sensitive receptor locations include schools, parks, playgrounds, day care centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and residential dwelling units. 
(2) If your project potentially includes demolishing asbestos-containing material, the Compliance Division at the SLO County APCD should be contacted. 

 

Calculating Operational Emissions for Project Level Review

There are a few SLO County APCD approved ways to calculate operational emissions for a given project. The first level of analysis for a project is to compare it to Table 1-1 in the SLO County APCD’s CEQA Air Quality Handbook.

Note: The stated GHG Numerical Threshold column and its values are no longer valid. Projects should be compared to the ROG + NOx threshold column and values only.

If the project’s size exceeds the unit of measure listed, a more refined analysis of air quality impacts would be necessary. However, Table 1-1 screening is not applicable to:

  • mixed land uses projects;
  • projects with land uses that are not listed in Table 1-1; and, 
  • projects that involve heavy-duty diesel activity and/or fugitive dust emissions, such as soil remediation, road or infrastructure, and energy or extractive resource projects.

For projects that require a more refined analysis, the next level of specificity involves the use of the most recent version of the California Emissions Estimator Model (CalEEMod). This software incorporates the most recent vehicle emission factors from the EMFAC model (EMission FACtors) provided by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and average trip generation factors published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. This model will automatically generate default values for various parameters. When modeling project emissions, the user must specify that the project is located in SLO County so that the appropriate default values are used for the modeling. If more detailed information about the operational phase of the project is known, the default values should be modified to reflect the anticipated emissions more accurately. CalEEMod reports submitted as part of a CEQA evaluation need to include the following:

  • A winter, summer, and annual report; and, 
  • The model files associated with the reports;
  • Changes to any SLO County defaults need to be identified and a solid defensible explanation for those changes need to be provided to the SLO County APCD.

Defaults that may need to be evaluated and modified based on the project location and specifications include:

  • Trip Length: For projects that are located in rural areas of the county where commercial services are not readily available, the trip length default values in the Operational – Mobile Vehicle Trips CalEEMod tab should be set at 13 miles for all trip distances; this happens automatically if the “Rural” Land Use Setting is selected.
  • Fleet Mix: Projects that attract a mix of vehicles which clearly differs from the default vehicle fleet in SLO County should make the appropriate changes to the FleetMix fraction section on the Annual, Summer, and Winter subtabs under the CalEEMod Operational – Mobile Vehicle Emissions Tab. Some examples include large commercial retail with heavy on-road truck use and heavy industry.

Comparing Operational Emissions to Thresholds and Applying Mitigation

The calculated operational emissions should be compared to SLO County APCD Thresholds of Significance displayed in the table below:

If the above thresholds are exceeded, mitigation measures for operational emissions should be applied to reduce operational impacts below the significance thresholds listed above. The below table is a quick guide displaying operational mitigation measures and their applicability. For a more expansive guide with further explanation click this link.

Operational Phase Mitigation Measures

Mitigation Measure Applicability
Mitigation Measures for Unpaved Roads, Driveways, and Parking Areas

Use if project meets any of the following per SLO County APCD's unpaved road screening table:

  • Exceeds PM10 Daily threshold
  • Exceeds PM10 Annual threshold
Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) Emission Mitigation Use if project exceeds DPM Daily threshold
Daily and Annual ROG+NOx and PM10 Mitigation

Use if project meets any of the following: 

  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Daily threshold
  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Annual threshold
  • Exceeds PM10 Daily threshold
  • Exceeds PM10 Annual threshold
Activity Management Plan (AMP)

Use if project meets any of the following: 

  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Annual threshold (in some cases) (1)
  • Exceeds PM10 Annual Threshold (in some cases) (1)
Operational Phase Off Site Mitigation

Use if project meets any of the following: 

  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Daily threshold and feasible mitigation measures are not implemented or not feasible.
  • Exceeds ROG+NOx Annual threshold

(1) An AMP is needed when a project is a continuous operation such as a new energy or extractive resource.

Special Conditions to limit exposure of emission-related health risks during the operational phase.

In addition to the operational mitigation measures defined above, there are a number of special conditions, local regulations or state/federal rules that may apply to a given project. The below table is a quick guide displaying special conditions and their applicability. For a more expansive guide with further explanation click this link

Operational Phase Special Conditions

Special Condition Applicability
Limits of Idling during Operational Phase

Use if project meets any of the following: 

  • Sensitive receptor (1) is within 1,000 feet of diesel-powered equipment will be used.
  • Exceeds Daily DPM threshold
  • Exceeds Daily ROG+NOx threshold
Health Risk Assessment - Type A: New Toxic Source that Impacts Sensitive Receptors Use when project has the potential to emit toxic hazardous air pollutants

(1) Sensitive receptor locations include schools, parks and playgrounds, day care centers, nursing homes and residential dwelling unit(s). 



 

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.