California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)


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Environmental review involves the evaluation of the potential impact of a project upon the environment. Environmental review is a legal requirement for a variety of project types, including land development, change in land use, and change in regulations applicable to land use and development. Such evaluation is mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)​.

The purpose of environmental review is to:

  • Inform governmental decision-makers and the public of the potential environmental effects of proposed activities.
  • Identify the ways that environmental damage can be avoided or significantly reduced.
  • Prevent environmental degradation resulting from proposed land developments by requiring changes in projects through the use of alternatives or mitigation measures when the County finds that the changes are feasible.
  • Disclose to the public the reasons why the County approved the project in the manner chosen if significant environmental effects remain.

Environmental Protection


Use of Consultants

  • Initial studies for more complex projects or EIRs are prepared with the assistance of private consultants contracted by and under the direction of the County and paid for by funds provided by the applicant. These consultants are selected from a list of pre-approved "on-call" consultants who have entered into Master Agreements with the County of Santa Clara.

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