City of Firebaugh, CA
Fresno County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. #340, S1]
This chapter shall be known as the "Environmental Quality Ordinance of the City of Firebaugh".
[Ord. #340, S2]
The purpose of this chapter is to set forth principles, objectives, criteria, and rules to be used in the implementation of the State Environmental Quality Act of 1970, to insure the orderly evaluation of projects, the thorough preparation of environmental impact reports, and the preservation and conservation of the environment in the city.
[Ord. #340, S3]
As used in this section:
a. 
APPLICANT – shall mean the person applying for a lease, permit, approval, authorization, or other entitlement from the city, or the city office, department or division proposing to initiate any project.
b. 
APPROVAL – shall mean the decision by a responsible city agency which commits the agency to a definite course of action in regard to a public project. Approval occurs in connection with private projects upon the earliest commitment to issue or the issuance by the responsible city agency of a discretionary contract, grant, subsidy, loans, lease, permit, license, certificate or entitlement for use.
c. 
CEQA – shall mean the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970, as published in the State Public Resources Code beginning at Section 21000 or as hereafter amended.
d. 
COMMISSION – shall mean the planning commission of the city.
e. 
DECISION MAKING AUTHORITY – shall mean the person or body which is empowered to approve or disapprove a public or private project.
f. 
DIRECTOR – shall mean the city manager or such person as he may designate to perform the duties reposed in the director by this chapter.
g. 
EMERGENCY – shall mean a sudden or catastrophic calamity caused by an occurrence or combination of occurrences of statewide or local impact, such as fire, flood, earthquake or other natural disaster, riot, war, accident or sabotage.
h. 
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) – shall mean a detailed statement setting forth the environmental effects and considerations pertaining to a project as specified in Section 21100 of the CEQA.
1. 
DRAFT EIR – shall mean an EIR containing the information specified in Section 15141, 15142 and 15143 of the Guidelines.
2. 
FINAL EIR – shall mean an EIR containing the information specified in Sections 15141, 15142 and 15143 of the Guidelines, a section for comments received in the consultation process, and the response of the responsible city agency to the comments received.
i. 
GUIDELINES – shall mean the Guidelines for Implementation of the CEQA, as published in Division 6, Title 14 of the California Administrative Code or as hereafter amended.
j. 
NEGATIVE DECLARATION – shall mean a statement by the responsible city agency that a project, although not categorically exempt, would not have a significant effect on the environment and therefore does not require an EIR.
k. 
NOTICE OF COMPLETION – shall mean a brief report filed with the secretary for resources as soon as the responsible city agency has completed a draft EIR and is prepared to send out copies for review. The contents of this notice are explained in Section 15085 (c) of the Guidelines.
l. 
NOTICE OF DETERMINATION – shall mean a brief notice to be filed by the decision making authority when it approves or determines to carry out a project which is subject to the requirements of CEQA. The contents of this report are explained in Section 15085 (g) of the Guidelines.
m. 
PROJECT – shall mean the whole of an action, resulting in physical impact on the environment, directly or ultimately, that is any of the following:
1. 
An activity directly undertaken by any public agency including but not limited to public works construction and related activities, clearing or grading of land, improvement to existing public structures, enactment and amendment of zoning ordinances, and the adoption of General Plans or elements thereof.
2. 
An activity undertaken by a person which is supported in whole or in part through public agency contracts, grants, subsidies, loans, or other forms of assistance from one or more public agencies.
3. 
An activity involving the issuance to a person of a lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement for use by one or more public agencies.
n. 
RESPONSIBLE CITY AGENCY – shall mean the city department division or office which proposes to undertake a public project or which is vested by ordinance, resolution or law with the authority to issue or approve any contract, grant, subsidy, loan, lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement pertaining to a private project. Where more than one city department, division or office is so involved with the same project, the responsible city agency shall be the agency which has the principal responsibility for undertaking a public project or approving a private project. Where more than one responsible city agency satisfies this criteria equally, the agency which is to act first on the project shall be the lead city agency. In the event the designation of a responsible city agency is in dispute or is uncertain, the mayor of the city shall designate the responsible city agency based on consideration of the above stated priorities and the capacity of the respective agencies to adequately fulfill the requirements of the CEQA, the Guidelines, and this chapter.
o. 
SIGNIFICANT EFFECT – shall mean a substantial adverse physical impact on the environment determined in accordance with Sections 15081 and 15012 of the Guidelines.
[Ord. #340, S4]
An environmental impact report must be prepared prior to the approval by the city of any project which may have a significant effect on the environment. Where it can be seen with certainty that the activity in question involves only ministerial action by the city or that it will not have a significant effect on the environment, it is exempt from the operation of this chapter and may be processed or carried out without reference hereto.
[Ord. #340, S5]
a. 
The following city permits, approvals, entitlements or actions and all other permits, approvals, entitlements, or actions heretofore or hereafter required, authorized or undertaken by the city and deemed by the director to be similar thereto shall be presumed to have no significant effect on the environment for the purposes of this chapter.
1. 
House moving permits.
2. 
Rooming house, hotel, and motel permits.
3. 
Skating rink permits.
4. 
Dance hall permits.
5. 
Pool or billiard room permits.
6. 
Card room permits.
7. 
Private patrol permits.
8. 
Taxi permits.
9. 
Bicycle licenses.
10. 
Dog licenses.
11. 
Annexations.
12. 
Zoning ordinance text amendments.
13. 
Those permits, approvals, entitlements or actions classified by Article 8 of the Guidelines as categorical exemptions.
b. 
The following city permits, approvals, entitlements or actions, and all other permits, approvals, entitlements or actions heretofore or hereafter required, authorized or undertaken by the city and deemed by the director pursuant to section 20-6 to be similar thereto shall be presumed to be ministerial for the purposes of the chapter:
1. 
Building permits.
2. 
Business licenses.
3. 
Banner permits.
4. 
Parade permits.
5. 
Sound truck permits.
6. 
Newsstand permits.
7. 
Final subdivision map approvals.
8. 
Individual utility service connections.
[Ord. #390, S6]
a. 
Any interested person may request in writing that the director classify as exempt any city permit, approval, entitlement or action not specifically listed in section 20-5 but alleged to be similar to those listed within one of the classes contained therein.
b. 
The director may classify any city permit, approval, entitlement or action heretofore or hereafter required or authorized by ordinance into one of the exemption classifications delineated in section 20-5, provided he first finds that:
1. 
The proposed classification is consistent with the purposes, policies and standards contained in the CEQA, the Guidelines, and this chapter.
2. 
The subject of the classification will have no greater adverse impact on the environment than two or more of the permits, approvals, entitlements or actions specifically listed within the proposed class, and
3. 
The proposed classification will not operate to the detriment of the adopted plans and policies of the city.
c. 
The director shall mail to or otherwise provide the person requesting the exemption classification with a written notice of his decision thereon. A copy of such notice shall be filed with the city clerk.
d. 
Within 15 calendar days of the mailing or delivery of the director's decision to the person requesting same or the filing of such notice with the city clerk, whichever occurs last, any interested person may appeal such decision to the commission by filing with the secretary thereof a written appeal stating:
1. 
The appellant's name and address.
2. 
His interest in or relationship to the subject permit, approval, entitlement or action.
3. 
The decision being appealed.
4. 
The specific reason or reasons why such decision should not be upheld.
Any appeal which does not contain the required information shall be rejected.
e. 
Upon the filing of an appeal containing the required information, the decision of the Director shall be set aside and the matter set for public hearing before the commission. The secretary shall set the time and place of the hearing, which shall be no more than 30 days following the filing of the appeal. Notice of such hearing shall be posted at least 10 days in advance of the hearing in three public places in the city. Copies of such notice shall be mailed or otherwise delivered to the appellant.
f. 
The commission may continue the hearing from time to time up to a total of 30 days. At the conclusion of the hearing, the commission may approve, modify, or reject the requested classification. The decision of the commission shall be final.
[Ord. #340, S7]
Prior to the application for any contract, grant, subsidy, loan, lease, permit, license, certificate or other entitlement from the city or the initiation of any project by the city, the applicant shall prepare and submit to the director on a form furnished by the city, an environmental assessment of the proposed activity or project. Such assessment shall include the following information:
a. 
Description of the activity or project.
b. 
Location of the activity or project.
c. 
Preliminary plans and drawings, if available.
d. 
A proposed finding that the proposed activity does or does not require the preparation of an EIR and the reasons for such finding.
e. 
Such additional data as the director reasonably deems necessary to properly evaluate the impact of the proposed project on the environment, giving due consideration to the criteria contained in Sections 15081 and 15082 of the Guidelines.
[Ord. #340, S9]
a. 
The director shall review the environmental assessment, together with any plans or attachments thereto, to determine whether the proposed activity constitutes a discretionary project which may have a significant effect on the environment. As an aid in making such determination, the director may solicit the advice and recommendations of any city department and other public agency that could be affected by the proposed activity, and of private persons or organizations which may have an interest in the environmental impact of the proposed activity. The director shall also be guided by the purposes, policies, rules, regulations, and standards set forth in the CEQA, the Guidelines, this chapter, and the adopted plans and policies of the city.
b. 
The director shall, within 10 days following his receipt of the environmental assessment, mail or otherwise provide to the applicant one of the following:
1. 
A written finding that no Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is required because:
(a) 
The proposed activity does not constitute a project;
(b) 
The proposed project is ministerial;
(c) 
The proposed project will not have a significant effect on the environment;
(d) 
The proposed project constitutes an emergency;
(e) 
The proposed project is within the categorical exemptions contained in Division 6 of the Guidelines.
(f) 
The proposed project is part of a phased project or a group of projects for which an EIR has previously been submitted and approved in accordance with this chapter and there are no substantial changes in the proposed project or the circumstances surrounding such project which involve new environmental impacts not considered in the original EIR; or
(g) 
The environmental effects of the proposed project are similar enough to warrant the same treatment as those addressed in another project for which an EIR has previously been submitted and approved in accordance with this chapter.
2. 
A written finding that an EIR is required, together with the reasons for such conclusion.
3. 
A written finding that the assessment is insufficient to enable him to determine whether an EIR shall be required, together with a list of the deficiencies in the assessment as submitted.
[Ord. #340, S9]
In those cases covered by section 20-8 b, 1, (c), the director shall, within two days of the mailing or service of his findings on the applicant, file with the clerk of the county a negative declaration containing the nature and description of the project and a finding that it will have no significant effect on the environment. In all other cases, a notice containing the nature and description of the proposed project and a copy of the director's findings relative thereto shall be filed within the same time period in the office of the city clerk.
[Ord. #340, S10]
a. 
Within 15 calendar days after the filing of the director's findings in accordance with section 20-9, any interested person may appeal any such finding to the commission by filing with the secretary thereof a written appeal stating:
1. 
The appellant's name and address,
2. 
His interest in or relationship to the proposed activity,
3. 
The finding being appealed, and
4. 
The specific reason or reasons why such finding should not be upheld.
Any appeal which does not contain the required information shall be rejected.
b. 
Upon the filing of an appeal containing the required information, the finding of the director shall be set aside and the matter set for public hearing before the commission. The secretary shall set the time and place of the hearing, which shall be not more than 30 days following the filing of the appeal. Notice of such hearing shall be posted in three public places in the city at least 10 days in advance of the date set therefore and a copy of such notice shall be mailed or otherwise delivered to the appellant and the applicant.
c. 
The commission may continue the hearing from time to time up to a total of 30 days. At the conclusion of the hearing, the commission may make any of the findings authorized by subsection 20-8.6. Failure of the commission to take such action at the close of the hearing shall constitute adoption and approval of the findings of the director.
d. 
A notice of the decision of the commission shall be filed in accordance with section 20-9 and a copy of the notice of decision shall be mailed or otherwise delivered to the appellant and the applicant.
[Ord. #340, S11]
Notwithstanding sections 20-1 through 20-10 of this chapter, any applicant may determine that his proposed activity constitutes a project which may have a significant effect on the environment without submitting an environmental assessment and proceed as if the director had made such a finding.
[Ord. #340, S12]
Any applicant proposing to carry out an activity which has been determined pursuant to this ordinance to require the preparation of an EIR, shall prepare a draft EIR.
a. 
The draft EIR for private projects shall be submitted in 10 copies simultaneously with the plans, permit application, subdivision map, or other form of request for a contract, loan, grant, lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement pertaining to the project, to the responsible city agency.
b. 
The draft EIR for public projects shall be prepared in 10 copies by the responsible city agency and processed as hereinafter provided.
[Ord. #340, S13]
a. 
Upon receipt or completion of the draft EIR, the responsible city agency shall review same to determine whether it satisfies the intent, standards and criteria of the CEQA, the Guidelines, and this chapter. In the event the responsible city agency determines that such intent, standards and criteria are not satisfied, it shall return the draft EIR to the applicant with a written list of the discrepancies which must be resolved or the additional tests, data or information which must be supplied to bring the draft EIR into compliance therewith, giving due consideration to the criteria contained in Sections 15141, 15142, and 15143 of the Guidelines.
b. 
Upon receipt or completion of a draft EIR which is deemed by the responsible city agency to comply with the intent, standards and criteria specified in subsection a of this section, such agency shall:
1. 
Furnish or make available copies of the draft EIR to all other city departments and public agencies which have jurisdiction by law to regulate or approve all or any part of the project, together with a request for their comments on the environmental effects of such project. The responsible agency may also make copies of the draft EIR available to, and request comments on the environmental effects of such project from any persons or organizations which have expressed an interest in the environmental impact of the project. All such departments, agencies, persons, and organizations which fail to respond to such request within 15 working days of the date of mailing or delivery, or by such later date as may be specified in the request, not to exceed 60 working days from the date of mailing or delivery, shall be deemed to have no objections to the EIR as submitted. In fixing such a return date, the responsible city agency shall give due consideration to the complexity of the project and the meeting dates of the agencies being asked to respond.
2. 
Post a notice once in three public places in the city to the effect that such draft EIR has been submitted or prepared and is available for examination in the office of the city clerk, and that public comment thereon may be submitted to the responsible city agency within 10 days of the date of such posting.
3. 
Schedule and hold a public hearing utilizing the procedural rules to be adopted by the commission in compliance with any rules in the CEQA or the Guidelines whenever the responsible city agency determines that such hearing would facilitate the purposes of the Environmental Quality Act of 1970. The responsible city agency shall present the draft EIR at such hearing and record or summarize the public comment presented thereat.
4. 
File notice of completion with the secretary of the resources agency of the State.
c. 
Within 10 days of:
1. 
The date of the draft EIR is filed with the responsible agency;
2. 
The expiration date for comments from other departments or public agencies; or
3. 
The date of the public hearing, if any; whichever is the latest, the responsible agency shall attach to the draft EIR all written comments received, together with the record of all testimony given at the public hearing, if any, or a summary thereof. The responsible city agency shall respond to any negative comments contained in such attachments explaining why it agrees or disagrees therewith, and shall prepare its own conclusion regarding the environmental effects of the proposed project and its recommendation for or against the proposed project.
d. 
The draft EIR and comments, conclusions and recommendations attached thereto, shall thereupon be processed with the permit application, subdivision map, or other form of request for approval of the project, in accordance with the procedures prescribed therefor, and shall be presented or made available to the decision making authority for its consideration prior to the date fixed for approval or disapproval of the project. The decision making authority shall adopt the draft EIR, with the additional data, comments, conclusions and recommendations attached thereto, as a final EIR and shall consider the contents thereof when making a decision to approve or disapprove the project.
e. 
After making a decision on the project, the decision making authority shall file a notice of determination with the clerk of the county and the city clerk.
[Ord. #340, S14]
Where this chapter requires the preparation of an EIR by a responsible city agency and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been or will be prepared for the same project pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, all or part of such statement may be submitted to the responsible city department in lieu of all or any part of a draft EIR required hereby. In the event the responsible city agency determines that the EIS complies with all of the requirements of the CEQA, the Guidelines, and this chapter, including the public and governmental agency review and comment process, it may certify the EIS directly to the decision making authority for adoption as a final EIR.
[Ord. #340, S15]
The council shall adopt by resolution an appropriate fee schedule listing fees which will cover the expense of preparing and processing EIR's, negative declarations, environmental assessments, and related documents. No application for a contract, grant, subsidy, loan, lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement shall be accepted by the city until a negative declaration, finding of exemption, or draft EIR has been prepared and submitted to the responsible city agency and all fees specified herein have been paid.