Deeming an Application for a Permit Complete

A lead agency is allowed 30 days to review for completeness applications for permits or other entitlements for use. Completion of the CEQA process is not required to deem a permit application complete.

If a permit decision has a limited time frame for agencies to make decisions on an applicant’s permit that would elapse prior to a completed review of the project under CEQA, the lead agency shall deem the application for the project not received for filing under the permit statute or ordinance until such time as progress toward completing the environmental documentation required by CEQA is sufficient to enable the lead agency to finish the CEQA process within the short permit time limit.

Reference: 14 CCR Sections 15111 and 15060

Is the Permit Application Request a Project (Subject to CEQA)?

Once an application is deemed complete, a lead agency must first determine whether an activity is subject to CEQA. An activity is not subject to CEQA if:

  • The activity does not involve the exercise of discretionary powers by a public agency.
  • The activity will not result in a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment.

Is the Project Subject to CEQA?

If the activity is covered by the general rule, that CEQA applies only to projects which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. Where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA.

Reference: 14 CCR Section 15061(b)(3)

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