CEQA is an abbreviation, formed from the initial letters of the "California Environmental Quality Act." It is a commonly used term to represent a key step that is taken during the review and consideration of major development project proposals. Passed into law in 1970, CEQA sets statewide policies that require both state and local agencies to consider the environmental consequences of decisions that involve changes to the environment. The purpose of CEQA is to provide information about the environmental effects of projects, identify ways that environmental damage can be avoided or reduced, and prevent significant environmental damage through mitigation measures or alternatives.
For some of the larger development projects, where there might be potentially significant impacts, an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) must be prepared. The EIR process begins with the circulation of a Notice of Preparation (NOP) which informs the public, responsible agencies, and trustee agencies that an EIR will be prepared.
We hope that the following information helps you understand the NOP process and how that relates to the overall environmental review process.
What is a NOP:
A Notice of Preparation (NOP) is the first step in the Environmental Impact Report process (14 California Code of Regulations §15082). The City of Escondido prepared a NOP for "The Villages - Escondido Country Club Project" to provide the public and responsible/trustee agencies with sufficient information describing the proposed project and its potential environmental effects. The notice provides information to the public, but it also opens a comment period, which allows the public to ask questions and provide input on things that will help City develop a more complete and thorough environmental analysis.
For more information about the NOP process, as provided under State law, please click here (external link).
What did the City do during the NOP comment period:
As part of the NOP process, we asked residents, businesses, and community members to help guide how the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) would be prepared. For the Villages Project, the NOP comment period started on January 25, 2017 and ended on February 24, 2017. The City advertised this comment review period in an ECC e-newsletter, print flyers at City Hall, a display ad in a local newspaper; and made an announcement in the City Manager's weekly log and at a January Planning Commission meeting.
As mentioned previously, the overall purpose of a NOP is to kick-off the environmental analysis. The EIR that will be prepared for this Project will require many technical studies and will take many months to complete. As specified under state law and CEQA Guidelines, the City utilized the NOP period to get input and/or comments from the public and external agencies about the environmental issues that will be evaluated. It is important to know all of community- and environmentally-related issues early in the process. For this reason, and as part of the public participation process, the City also held an informational Scoping Meeting on February 13, 2017. For this meeting, the City set up an informational open house to encourage participants to 1) learn about the Project, 2) identify potential environmental impacts, and 3) submit written comment either at the meeting or separately, during the comment period. The NOP Scoping Meeting was intended to be informal, with no set City staff presentation. This more informal format allowed people to review the material at their own pace, speak with City staff one-on-one, visit with neighbors, and come and go at their own convenience.
The following provides links to the NOP Scoping Meeting material, and handouts that were made available at the meeting.
NOP Scoping Meeting Poster Boards:
- Welcome Board
- Site Plan Board
- Site Location and Setting Board
- Open Space Exhibit Board
- EIR Process Board
- EIR Study Topics (No. 1 Board)
- EIR Study Topics Cont'd (No. 2 Board)
NOP Scoping Meeting Materials:
- NOP Comment Form (the deadline to submit comments was February 24th)
- NOP Scoping Flyer
- NOP Scoping Meeting Basics
- NOP Scoping Summary of Project
What was the outcome:
Approximately 120 people attended the February 13th NOP Scoping Meeting. The meeting allowed for informal group discourse and for people to speak more intimately about the EIR process, the City's review and consideration of the Project, and the potential environmental consequences of implementing the Project. Over the course of the 30-day NOP comment period, inclusive of the Scoping Meeting, a total of 198 letters were submitted. You can view each of the correspondences in the links below.
Comments submitted at the February 13, 2017 NOP Scoping Meeting
All other agency NOP comments
All other public NOP comments
Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3
Part 3 of 3
Please note that the information presented during the initial Scoping effort and the comments that were received by the City will be summarized into an EIR Scoping Summary Report that will be utilized in the EIR.