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Environmental Impact Report

Notice of Preparation (NOP) and Scoping Meeting

Click Here to download a PDF copy of the NOP, including information about the Scoping Meeting.

Click Here to download a PDF copy of the Scoping Meeting PowerPoint presentation.

Click Here to watch a video recording of the October 26, 2017 Scoping Meeting.

Hard copies of the NOP are available at the County’s Land Use Services Department at the San Bernardino County Government Center, the Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center, and the Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center. Click Here for addresses to each location.

The County is in the process of preparing a Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Countywide Plan to: inform the public and decision-makers of potential project impacts, identify options to avoid and reduce environmental impacts, look at alternative plans that may avoid or minimize impacts, and encourage inter-agency coordination.

The EIR for the Countywide Plan will be prepared in accordance with CEQA Statutes and Guidelines, and it will focus on the primary effects than can be expected to occur after the adoption of the Countywide Plan. Because of this, the Program EIR will not be as detailed as a Project EIR prepared for a specific development or construction project may be.

  • About the EIR

    What is it?

    The Policy Plan component of the Countywide Plan will be evaluated under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), through preparation and review of a comprehensive, programmatic environmental impact report (EIR).  An EIR provides the most complete analysis and maximum level of public participation available through CEQA.  The purpose of an EIR is to:

    • Disclose project impacts to the public and decision-makers
    • Identify ways to avoid or reduce environmental impacts
    • Analyze alternatives with the potential to avoid/minimize impacts
    • Foster inter-agency coordination and review

    The EIR will be structured to provide defensible CEQA documentation, strictly comply with processing requirements, and optimize “tiering” and streamlining options for future development projects that are consistent with the Countywide Plan.

    Technically speaking

    Statutes and Guidelines. CEQA is codified in the California Public Resources Code (Sections 21000 et al), with guidelines interpreting the CEQA statute, known as the CEQA Guidelines, contained in Sections 15000 and following of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations.

    Purpose of an EIR. An EIR is—first and foremost—an objective disclosure document; it does not in itself advocate for or against a project.  An EIR describes the project in detail and the potential environmental impacts on the existing environmental setting.  Supported by numerous technical studies (traffic, air quality/greenhouses gases, cultural and biological resources, noise, geotechnical resources, etc.), the EIR will document probable environmental impacts, feasible ways of reducing or eliminating those impacts, cumulative effects, and alternatives to the project.

    Public and agency input is key to a meaningful EIR, and by law will occur throughout the process.  Beginning with several EIR ‘scoping’ meetings, the public and various agencies can provide their knowledge and expertise to assist the County and consultant team in further focusing the approach and analysis needed in the EIR.  A 45-day public review of the completed Draft EIR will be followed by formal responses to any comments received (Final EIR), and further opportunities to comment on the analysis, mitigation and alternatives at public hearings.

    Program EIR. This EIR will be a programmatic EIR.  A Program EIR is ideal to analyze large-scale projects that cover future actions that may be related geographically, as a phased series of actions, by statute or regulatory requirements, or by types of impacts and mitigation.  For the General Plan, it allows review of broad policy issues and potential cumulative effects, and the appropriate consideration of program-wide alternatives.

    CEQA Streamlining and Tiering. A Program EIR also optimizes streamlining opportunities for future actions which may or may not require a subsequent or project EIR.  “Tiering” refers to covering general matters in broader EIRs (such as General Plan EIRs) and narrowing the analysis for subsequent review when more “project-level” or site specific information is available.  It cost-effectively avoids redundant analysis, and with the use of specific requirements for subsequent technical studies and performance standards, can limit the need for CEQA documents for future projects consistent with the General Plan.

    Recent Legislation. The EIR will also evaluate issues and conduct processes introduced by recent legislation.  Examples include alternative transportation metrics (Senate Bill 743, Steinberg, 2013) and tribal cultural resources (Assembly Bill 52, Gatto, 2014).

    When will it start?

    The EIR is expected to start in late 2017 with the release of the Notice of Preparation and public scoping meeting. The County will then conduct technical studies and prepare a Draft EIR suitable for public review in 2018.  A Final EIR will accompany the Policy Plan for the public adoption hearings, which are expected to occur in late 2018.  EIR-related documents will be posted on this website as they become available for the public’s review and input. Please check back here for progress.

  • Commenting during the EIR process

    NOP Public Review Period

    The NOP was available for a 30-day public review period from October 17, 2017, to November 20, 2017.

    The County received input from both agencies and members of the public on the scope and content of the environmental information and analysis that will be incorporated in the EIR. Comments received by 5pm on November 20, 2017 will be addressed during the EIR process. Due to the time limits mandated by state law, the County is no longer receiving comments regarding the NOP.

    Will there be other opportunities to comment on the EIR?

    Yes, the County anticipates releasing the draft EIR around mid-2018.  The public review and comment period for the draft EIR will be a minimum of 45 days per state law.

  • NOP and Scoping Meeting

    Notice of Preparation (NOP)

    Click here to download a PDF copy of the NOP, including information about the Scoping Meeting.

    Click Here to go to the web map showing the Proposed General Plan Land Use Plan.

    Hard copies of the NOP are available at the County’s Land Use Services Department at the San Bernardino County Government Center, the Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center, and the Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center. Click Here for addresses to each location.

    Public Scoping Meeting

    A public scoping meeting was held Thursday October 26, 2017 (9:30-11:30 am).

    Click Here to view the calendar event.

    Click Here to view a video recording of the Scoping Meeting.

    Pursuant to the California Public Resources Code Section 21083.9, the County conducted a public scoping meeting. This meeting provided a public forum for information dissemination and dialogue regarding the components of the proposed project and the environmental review process. Please note the main purpose of the public scoping meeting was to provide a project description and solicit comments to refine and/or expand the scope of the EIR. Although staff will summarize the issues raised at these meetings, anyone wishing to make formal comments on the scope of the EIR must do so in writing as part of the public review period noted in the “Commenting during the EIR process” section above.

    The meeting was held at:

    San Bernardino County Government Center
    385 N Arrowhead Avenue
    San Bernardino, CA 92415

    Remote video conferencing was available at the following locations and County staff was present to take questions and comments:

    Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center
    15900 Smoke Tree St, Suite 131
    Hesperia, CA 92345

    Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center
    63665 Twentynine Palms Highway
    Joshua Tree, CA 92252

    The Scoping Meeting was also available to stream live via the County’s website.

  • Draft EIR (Coming Mid-2018)

    The County is in the process of preparing the Draft EIR, which will be released for public review in 2018.  EIR-related documents will be posted on this website as they become available for the public’s review and input. Please check back here for progress.

    Background and Reference Material

    Draft EIR (Coming Mid-2018)

  • Final EIR and NOD (Coming Late-2018)

    The Final EIR will be certified along side the Policy Plan during the public adoption hearings, which are expected to occur in late 2018.

    The Notice of Determination (NOD) will be issued prior to the public adoption hearings in accordance with state law.

    When available, the Final EIR and NOD will be posted here.

    Final EIR (Coming Late-2018)

    Notice of Determination (NOD) (Coming Late-2018)