Environmental Impact Report
Final Environmental Impact Report
The County received dozens of substantive comments on the Draft EIR released in June 2019. These comments were carefully reviewed additional analysis was conducted to ensure the County could respond appropriately. The Final EIR contains copies of the public comments, the County’s responses, and a description of the corrections/changes to the Draft EIR.
At the bottom of this page are links to access PDF copies of the Final EIR, as well as the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, Findings of Facts, and Statement of Overriding Considerations.
How can the public view the Final EIR?
In addition to the links below, hard copies of the Final EIR are available at the County’s Land Use Services Department at the San Bernardino County Government Center, the Jerry Lewis High Desert Government Center, the Bob Burke Joshua Tree Government Center, and the Twin Peaks Office. Click Here for addresses to each location.
Final Environmental Documents (2020)
The Final EIR contains copies of the public comments, the County’s responses, and a description of the corrections/changes to the Draft EIR. To facilitate review of the Final EIR, each chapter and appendix is listed individually below to minimize file size. Please note that some files are still fairly large and will require some time to download.
1. Introduction (also includes the comment summary table from Section 2)
Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP)
CEQA requires that when making findings regarding significant impacts, the County adopt a reporting or monitoring program for changes made to the project or conditions of project approval, adopted in order to mitigate or avoid significant effects on the environment.
Findings of Facts and Statement of Overriding Considerations (FOF/SOC)
CEQA requires the County to adopt Findings of Facts and a Statement of Overriding Considerations when it chooses to approve a project that may result in significant and unavoidable impacts.
Notice of Determination (NOD)
Following project approval, the County must file a NOD with the State Clearinghouse that (in a one-page checklist form) describes the project, states the type of environmental determination made, and identifies whether the project will have environmental impacts (and if so indicates the presence of mitigation measures, a mitigation reporting or monitoring program, and a statement of overriding considerations).
Draft EIR (2019)
The County of San Bernardino released the Draft EIR for the proposed Countywide Plan in 2019 after a period of public review and comment between June 17 to August 15, 2019. The Department sought input from both agencies and members of the public regarding preparation of the Draft EIR. While state law only requires a 45-day public review period, the County provided a 60-day review period so that sufficient time was available to the public for both review of the Draft EIR and submission of comments.
Please click on the links below to download the Draft EIR. To facilitate review of the Draft EIR, each chapter and/or sub-chapter is listed individually below to minimize file size. Please note that some files are still fairly large and will require some time to download.
Draft EIR (Released June 17, 2019)
Chapter 5) Environmental Analysis (each topic listed below)
DRAFT EIR APPENDICES
L1) Transportation Impact Analysis (Report)
L2) Transportation Impact Analysis (Appendices- Part 1)
L3) Transportation Impact Analysis (Appendices- Part 2)
L4) Transportation Impact Analysis (Appendices- Part 3)
L5) Transportation Impact Analysis (Appendices- Part 4)
Legal References. Pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 21165 and the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines (CEQA Guidelines) Section 15050, the County of San Bernardino (County) was the Lead Agency responsible for preparation of a Program Environmental Impact Report for the proposed San Bernardino Countywide Plan (Project), described below. Notice was given that the County completed a Draft EIR (State Clearinghouse No. 2017101033) for the Project to address the potential environmental effects associated with implementation of the Project.
NOP and Scoping Meeting (2017)
Notice of Preparation (NOP)
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).
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.
Commenting during the EIR process
Draft EIR Public Review Period
The Draft EIR was available for a 60-day public review period from June 17, 2019, to August 15, 2019.
The County opted for a 60-day public review and comment period for the draft EIR (minimum required is 45 days per state law). The Department sought input from both agencies and members of the public regarding preparation of the Draft EIR. Written comments were required to be sent via mail, e-mail, or fax no later than 5:00 PM on Thursday, August 15, 2019. Comments were to be sent at the earliest possible date to:
Jerry L. Blum, Countywide Plan Coordinator
County of San Bernardino
Land Use Services Department
385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, 1st Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415
Fax: (909) 387-3223
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 was incorporated in the EIR. Comments received by 5pm on November 20, 2017 were 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 released the Final EIR in advance of the public adoption hearings. The public will be able to provide public comment as part of the public adoption hearings.
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.
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 the EIR scoping meeting on October 2017, the public and various agencies were given the opportunity to provide their knowledge and expertise to assist the County and consultant team in further focusing the approach and analysis needed in the EIR. The County distributed a Draft EIR for a 60-day public review on June 17, 2019. Formal responses to any comments received will be presented in a Final EIR, with additional opportunities to comment on the analysis, mitigation, and alternatives at public adoption 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 proposed County Policy Plan, it allows review of broad policy issues and potential cumulative effects, and the appropriate consideration of program-wide alternatives.
The EIR 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.
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.
However, it is important to note the tiering process does not eliminate CEQA for future projects. Any subsequent project must still be processed in accordance with CEQA and there is no expectation that all (or even most) future projects will be streamlined by a tiering process.
Recent Legislation. The EIR also evaluates 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 started in late 2017 with the release of the Notice of Preparation and public scoping meeting. The County then conducted technical studies, conducted two rounds of regional meetings, and released a Draft EIR suitable for public review on June 17, 2019. A Final EIR will accompany the Policy Plan for the public adoption hearings, which are expected to occur in late 2020. 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.