CEQA Threshold Impact Analysis

There are 3 cases that should be examined:

  1. Consensus Position

  2. Ordinance Proposed by the Planning Commission, or to be voted on by the Board of Supervisors

  3. No Change: current Title 20 and Title 21 rules, with the enforcement program as announced by the Planning Commission and approved by the Board of Supervisors


Here is a link to tthe entire checklist document:

APPENDIX G, CEQA Environmental Checklist Form




Description of project: (Describe the whole action involved, including but not limited to later phases of the project, and any secondary, support, or off-site features necessary for its implementation.)


A brief explanation is required for all answers except “No Impact” answers that are adequately supported by the information sources a lead agency cites in the parentheses following each question. A “No Impact” answer is adequately supported if the referenced information sources show that the impact simply does not apply to projects like the one involved (e.g., the project falls outside a fault rupture zone). A “No Impact” answer should be explained where it is based on project-specific factors as well as general standards (e.g., the project will not expose sensitive receptors to pollutants, based on a project-specific screening analysis).


All answers must take account of the whole action involved, including off-site as well as on-site, cumulative as well as project-level, indirect as well as direct, and construction as well as operational impacts.

Once the lead agency has determined that a particular physical impact may occur, then the checklist answers must indicate whether the impact is potentially significant, less than significant with mitigation, or less than significant. “Potentially Significant Impact” is appropriate if there is substantial evidence that an effect may be significant. If there are one or more “Potentially Significant Impact” entries when the determination is made, an EIR is required.

CEQA Checklist Sample

“Negative Declaration: Less Than Significant With Mitigation Incorporated” applies where the incorporation of mitigation measures has reduced an effect from “Potentially Significant Impact” to a “Less Than Significant Impact.” The lead agency must describe the mitigation measures, and briefly explain how they reduce the effect to a less than significant level.


Supporting Information Sources: A source list should be attached, and other sources used or individuals contacted should be cited in the discussion.

The explanation of each issue should identify:

a)  the significance criteria or threshold, if any, used to evaluate each question; and

b)  the mitigation measure identified, if any, to reduce the impact to less than significance.


Areas of Potentially Significant Impact

I. AESTHETICS — Would the project:
a) Have a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista?

b) Substantially damage scenic resources, including, but not limited to, trees, rock outcroppings, and historic buildings within a state scenic highway?

c) Substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings?

d) Create a new source of substantial light or glare which would adversely affect day or nighttime views in the area?


a) Convert Prime Farmland, Unique Farmland, or Farmland of Statewide Importance (Farmland), as shown on the maps prepared pursuant to the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program of the California Resources Agency, to non-agricultural use?

III. AIR QUALITY — Where available, the significance criteria established by the applicable air quality management or air pollution control district may be relied upon to make the following determinations. Would the project:

a) Conflict with or obstruct implementation of the applicable air quality plan?

b) Violate any air quality standard or contribute substantially to an existing or projected air quality violation?

c) Result in a cumulatively considerable net increase of any criteria pollutant for which the project region is non- attainment under an applicable federal or state ambient air quality standard (including releasing emissions which exceed quantitative thresholds for ozone precursors)?

d) Expose sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations?

e) Create objectionable odors affecting a substantial number of people?

IV. BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES — Would the project:

e) Conflict with any local policies or ordinances protecting biological resources, such as a tree preservation policy or ordinance?

V. CULTURAL RESOURCES — Would the project:

VI. GEOLOGY AND SOILS — Would the project:

e) Have soils incapable of adequately supporting the use of septic tanks or alternative waste water disposal systems where sewers are not available for the disposal of waste water?


g) Impair implementation of or physically interfere with an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan?

h) Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury or death involving wildland fires, including where wildlands are adjacent to urbanized areas or where residences are intermixed with wildlands?


a) Violate any water quality standards or waste discharge requirements?

b) Substantially deplete groundwater supplies or interfere substantially with groundwater recharge such that there would be a net deficit in aquifer volume or a lowering of the local groundwater table level (e.g., the production rate of pre-existing nearby wells would drop to a level which would not support existing land uses or planned uses for which permits have been granted)?

IX. LAND USE AND PLANNING – Would the project:

a) Physically divide an established community?

b) Conflict with any applicable land use plan, policy, or regulation of an agency with jurisdiction over the project (including, but not limited to the general plan, specific plan, local coastal program, or zoning ordinance) adopted for the purpose of avoiding or mitigating an environmental effect?

c) Conflict with any applicable habitat conservation plan or natural community conservation plan?

X. MINERAL RESOURCES — Would the project:

XI. NOISE — Would the project result in:

a) Exposure of persons to or generation of noise levels in excess of standards established in the local general plan or noise ordinance, or applicable standards of other agencies?

b) Exposure of persons to or generation of excessive groundborne vibration or groundborne noise levels?

c) A substantial permanent increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project?

d) A substantial temporary or periodic increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project?

XII. POPULATION AND HOUSING –– Would the project:

a) Induce substantial population growth in an area, either directly (for example, by proposing new homes and businesses) or indirectly (for example, through extension of roads or other infrastructure)?

b) Displace substantial numbers of existing housing, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere?

c) Displace substantial numbers of people, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere?


a) Would the project result in substantial adverse physical impacts associated with the provision of new or physically altered governmental facilities, need for new or physically altered governmental facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental impacts, in order to maintain acceptable service ratios, response times or other performance objectives for any of the public services:

Fire protection?

Police protection?


Other public facilities?


a) Would the project increase the use of existing neighborhood and regional parks or other recreational facilities such that substantial physical deterioration of the facility would occur or be accelerated?

b) Does the project include recreational facilities or require the construction or expansion of recreational facilities which might have an adverse physical effect on the environment?


a) Cause an increase in traffic which is substantial in relation to the existing traffic load and capacity of the street system (i.e., result in a substantial increase in either the number of vehicle trips, the volume to capacity ratio on roads, or congestion at intersections)?

b) Exceed, either individually or cumulatively, a level of service standard established by the county congestion management agency for designated roads or highways?

c) Result in a change in air traffic patterns, including either an increase in traffic levels or a change in location that results in substantial safety risks?

d) Substantially increase hazards due to a design feature (e.g., sharp curves or dangerous intersections) or incompatible uses (e.g., farm equipment)?

e) Result in inadequate emergency access? f) Result in inadequate parking capacity?


a) Exceed wastewater treatment requirements of the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Board?

d) Have sufficient water supplies available to serve the project from existing entitlements and resources, or are new or expanded entitlements needed?


a) Does the project have the potential to degrade the quality of the environment, substantially reduce the habitat of a fish or wildlife species, cause a fish or wildlife population to drop below self-sustaining levels, threaten to eliminate a plant or animal community, reduce the number or restrict the range of a rare or endangered plant or animal or eliminate important examples of the major periods of California history or prehistory?

b) Does the project have impacts that are individually limited, but cumulatively considerable? (“Cumulatively considerable” means that the incremental effects of a project are considerable when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects)?

c) Does the project have environmental effects which will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly?


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