As corporations grow, often a need arises for an expanded office space or manufacturing site. As boards make decisions about growth and expansion, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) statutes may impact what options can proceed without further red tape. This article will discuss what the CEQA regulates, what questions a corporation should ask themselves in line with the CEQA statutes, and what exemptions may be available.
What does the CEQA statutory scheme regulate?
The statutes that make up the CEQA require cities and public agencies to evaluate and weigh environmental consequences before they approve or commit to a course of action or project. Not designed to be used as a weapon against development, the CEQA can facilitate making environmentally informed choices, and following its processes allows a project to move forward conscientiously. In general, the city will act as the lead agency for reviewing any projects that merit CEQA jurisdiction.
Questions a project manager should ask
A project manager can mitigate possible negative outcomes of a CEQA review by considering a few simple questions before moving forward with a conceived project. For example:
- Will the project cause any potential direct or indirect change to the environment in the foreseeable future?
- Will any public agencies be associated with the contracts, permits, loans, licensing, or certification of the project?
- How can this project utilize the expertise of a qualified legal guide to ensure the project will avoid litigation around CEQA statutes?
What are possible exemptions under CEQA?
A project classified under the umbrella of CEQA statutes may qualify for exemptions for several reasons. A few common exemptions include:
- Existing facilities
- Emergency projects
- Open space contracts or easements
- In-fill development projects
- Replacement or reconstruction
- Minor alterations to land use
The way forward
As with many situations in real estate project management, consulting an experienced attorney can help you make the best use of your time when creating plans for an expansion or new building project. Taking these steps is particularly relevant if you observe that your project may include a review by the CEQA of your municipality. It is worth carefully considering how to facilitate your project so that you can move forward in an environmentally responsible and economically favorable way.