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Chapter 3. Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act Article 5. Preliminary Review of Projects and Conduct of Initial Study Review for Exemption.   

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(a) Once a lead agency has determined that an activity is a project subject to CEQA, a lead agency shall determine whether the project is exempt from CEQA.

(b) A project is exempt from CEQA if:

(1) The project is exempt by statute (see, e.g. Article 18, commencing with Section 15260).

(2) The project is exempt pursuant to a categorical exemption (see Article 19, commencing with Section 15300) and the application of that categorical exemption is not barred by one of the exceptions set forth in Section 15300.2.

(3) The activity is covered by the general rule that CEQA applies only to projects which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. Where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA.

(4) The project will be rejected or disapproved by a public agency. (See Section 15270(b)).

(c) Each public agency should include in its implementing procedures a listing of the projects often handled by the agency that the agency has determined to be exempt. This listing should be used in preliminary review.

(d) After determining that a project is exempt, the agency may prepare a notice of exemption as provided in Section 15062. Although the notice may be kept with the project application at this time, the notice shall not be filed with the Office of Planning and Research or the county clerk until the project has been approved.

Authority cited:

Public Resources Code 21083


Public Resources Code 21080(b)

Public Resources Code 21080.9

Public Resources Code 21080.10

Public Resources Code 21084

Public Resources Code 21108(b)

Public Resources Code 21152(b)

No Oil, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles (1974) 13 Cal. 3d 68.

(Amended by Register 2005, No. 40.)