DHA Goes Hollywood April 2011
In This Issue
Who is Douglas Herring & Associates?


Pt. Reyes-beach, verticalIn this issue of our periodic eAlerts, intended to keep our clients and colleagues informed, we're trying something new:  Shorts.  It's a popular twist in the film industry, so why not borrow a great idea?  Here's a diverse sampling of some recent environmental and planning developments to keep you updated and informed. If you have a specific challenge on  planning your project or obtaining environmental approvals, we're here to help you get answers or move your project forward.


Doug Herring, AICP

Archives:  Our previous eAlerts are now archived at:  DHA eAlerts Archive

Photography by Doug Herring 




Health Hazard Assessment Requirements Kick In


Last year we provided a summary of the new California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines adopted by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), which went into effect on June 2, 2010 (you can read the archived eAlert at: DHA eAlerts Archive-June 2010).   On May 1, 2011 new requirements kick in for community risk and hazard assessments of new development. The updated BAAQMD CEQA Guidelines now require lead agencies to evaluate potential community exposure within a Zone of Influence, defined as a 1,000-foot radius (or larger in certain cases) from the property line of a new source or new receptor. If a proposed project or plan would exceed applicable screening criteria, site-specific air dispersion modeling and risk assessment must be performed to determine whether sensitive receptors could be exposed to significant emissions of toxic air contaminants (TACs) and particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less (PM2.5).  

Suggested Revisions to CEQA

The Los Angeles Times recently published a thought-provoking editorial on the familiar abuses of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), such as lawsuits aimed at achieving financial gains rather than protecting the environment.  The authors provide some sensible suggestions for reducing such cynical and costly manipulation of the process.  You can read the editorial here:  LA Times Op-Ed.


Demolition of Historic Resources

Public agencies wishing to protect historic resources within their jurisdiction may wish to update their municipal codes, based on the results of a recent CEQA lawsuit.  In Friends of the Juana Briones House v. City of Palo Alto the Court of Appeal determined that a city or county cannot deny a ministerial demolition permit for demolition of a locally designated historic structure unless the authorizing ordinance provides the agency with discretion to deny the demolition permit application.  The court found that imposing conditions on the permit approval does not in itself render a project discretionary, and thus subject to protections afforded by CEQA.  In February the California Supreme Court denied the petition for review of this case, making the Court of Appeal's decision final.  You can read a summary of the case and its implications at:  Briones Case Summary

Who Is Douglas Herring & Associates?

Douglas Herring & Associates (DHA) works with public agencies, developers, and other businesses in California to expertly obtain the environmental and planning approvals needed to move projects from the conceptual stage to physical, benefit-generating reality in an efficient and cost-effective manner.  Since 1997, DHA has helped dozens of California cities and counties and scores of other businesses and organizations save money while obtaining high-quality planning and environmental analysis services necessary to get their projects expeditiously approved and built. Learn more on our website:  Douglas Herring & Associates.
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