An environmental assessment is required for a project that requires a discretionary decision, as determined by Los Angeles County Code Title 22 Planning and Zoning
Projects that generally require an environmental assessment include:
- Plan Amendments
- Zone Changes
- Conditional Use Permits
- Tentative Parcel Maps
- Tentative Tract Maps
Environmental assessments are mandated by and prepared in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act and its guidelines. Staff will determine the potential impacts of your project on the environment by preparing an Initial Study. The Initial Study will utilize material that you submit with your project application, (Environmental Assessment Information Form, maps, photographs, development plans), case file information, data on file in the Department of Regional Planning, and comments from appropriate County agencies and departments. If it is determined that the project will not have a significant effect upon the environment. or that the impact can be reduced to insignificant levels by placing conditions on the project's approval, the project qualifies for a Negative Declaration or a Mitigated Negative Declaration with conditions, respectively. If it is determined that the project may have a significant effect upon the environment, an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is required. You may appeal the requirement for an EIR or the conditions imposed on a Negative Declaration by contacting the appropriate case processing section located in Room 1346 of the Hall of Records, 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 974-6461.
General Plan and Zoning information, application forms, and fee schedules may be obtained by contacting the Department of Regional Planning Land Development Coordinating Center in Room 1360, Hall of Records, 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Telephone (213) 974-6411. Our office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The office is closed every Friday. The Department of Regional Planning offers One-Stop Counseling to advise applicants on the processes and requirements of development.
When you have completed the application forms and assembled all of the required materials, you will need to call (213) 974-6438 to schedule a filing appointment. A planner will review the materials to ensure that all necessary items, including the required signatures and filing fees, are submitted before accepting the application and assigning a project number. The Environmental Assessment Information Form must be filled out completely and accurately to avoid unnecessary delays.
After the application has been logged into our case tracking system, this information will be forwarded to the lead project planner for your project. The time that it takes to complete the Initial Study is dependent upon the current backlog of applications, the complexity of your project and whether consultation with other agencies and departments is required. Inquiries regarding the status of an environmental assessment should be directed to the lead project planner.
When the required environmental documentation has been completed, a public hearing will be scheduled before a Hearing Officer or the Regional Planning Commission (RPC). If the project involves more than one type of approval, a concurrent hearing will be scheduled. The lead project planner will advise you of the hearing date and the deadline for posting of notices on the subject property, notices to nearby property owners, local newspaper publishing, and the availability of a staff report with recommendations. Copies of the environmental documentation will be available for public review at the offices of the Department of Regional Planning and one or more branches of the County Public Library 30 or 45 days prior to the public hearing.
Following the public hearing, the Hearing Officer or the RPC will certify the environmental document, approve or deny the project or, if the project requires the approval of the Board of Supervisors, it will recommend certification and approval to the Board.
At the time and place advertised in the public notice. a Hearing Officer or the RPC will conduct a public hearing on your request. These hearings are normally held in Room 150 of the Hall of Records. 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles. Hearing Officer meetings usually convene at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. Commission meetings usually convene at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday mornings.
Hearing Officers are appointed by the Director of Regional Planning, subject to confirmation by the Board of Supervisors. The RPC is composed of five members appointed by the County Board of Supervisors.
The applicant and/or his representative should attend the public hearing and be prepared to present and explain the requested project development. You may submit maps, graphics, letters, petitions or other documents in support of your request. You may call on other people, such as consultants or surrounding property owners who support your proposal, to assist you in presenting your case. Other interested persons, including neighboring property owners will have an opportunity to address the Hearing Officer or the RPC. You and/or your representative will be given an opportunity to respond to any objections. The planning staff presentation will include a discussion of the environmental documentation; and, both oral testimony and written comments regarding its adequacy will be received and considered by the Hearing Officer or the RPC.
The Board of Supervisors' public hearing procedures are similar to those of the RPC. The lead project planner or the Executive Officer/Clerk of the Board of Supervisors will notify you of the time and place of the hearing and the deadline for posting of notices on the subject property. The Board of Supervisors' meetings are held in the Board Hearing Room, (Room 381), in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 West Temple Street, Los Angeles 90012.
The Board consists of five Supervisors, each of whom is elected by the voters of his or her district.
Proponents and opponents will be given an opportunity to address the Board regarding the merits of the proposed project and the adequacy of the environmental documentation. Once the hearing is closed, the Board will render a decision to approve, deny, or modify the proposed project. If the Board decides to approve the project, the Board will also certify the final environmental document. Following certification of the environmental document, and payment of Department of Fish and Game fees and document processing fees, the planning staff will file a Notice of Determination with the County Clerk.
If you require reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids and services such as material in an alternate format or a sign language interpreter, please contact the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator at (213) 974-6488 (Voice) or (213) 617-2292 (TDD), with at least five business days notice.