CEQA: Beware the Naked Checklist

Use of a "Naked" or "Barebones" checklist as the basis for an initial CEQA study is not legally defensible, according to land use attorney Kevin Kozal.

"The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires public agencies to be fully aware of the potential environmental impacts of their decisions before voting on proposed projects. After an agency makes the initial determination that CEQA applies to a particular application, the agency must then predict whether there are risks that significant environmental impacts may result from the project. This determination is typically made through use of an initial study. The initial study is a means for gathering information useful to assess whether to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) or a negative declaration. Often a checklist procedure is utilized to make this assessment.

...[R]eliance on a 'naked' or 'barebones' checklist to support a determination that an EIR is not necessary and that a negative declaration instead can be prepared is suspect. A naked checklist is one in which only the boxes on the list are checked "yes" or "no" and little or no evidence or data is included to explain the basis on which judgments about potential impacts were made. Use of such a checklist as a way to defend the decision to adopt a negative declaration on the basis that no significant environmental impacts exist is rarely, if ever, legally defensible."

Full Story: Use of a "Naked" or "Barebones" checklist as the basis for an initial study is not legally defensible

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month