The CEQA process is a multi-step, open dialogue process between the project applicant, governmental agencies, and the public. in the case of the Rancho del Prado project, the CEQA process will involve the preparation of an EIR. The overall length of time it takes to complete the process depends on how long each of the various steps takes.

An initial step in the process will be the City’s issuance of a Notice of Preparation (NOP), which describes the proposed project and solicits information from responsible agencies as to the scope and content of the EIR. Issuance of the NOP starts a 30-day period for comments on the issues the EIR should address. The City may also hold a scoping meeting among the various responsible agencies to assist the City in determining the scope and content of the EIR.

The environmental firm retained by the City to prepare the EIR prepares, commissions, and evaluates the necessary studies and prepares the EIR in coordination with the City. When a draft EIR has been completed and is ready for public review, the City issues a notice of completion. The draft EIR is then circulated for review by the public and other agencies. The public review period ranges from 45 to 60 days, depending on the nature of the project. In addition, the City may hold a public hearing on the draft EIR. During the review period agencies and the general public may provide written comments to the City on the draft EIR and may also comment orally at the hearing, if one is held.

After the public review period, the EIR preparer and the City evaluate the comments received on the draft EIR and prepare responses to those comments. The draft EIR and the City’s responses to the comments received, together comprise the final EIR.

If the City elects to approve the proposed project, before doing so the City must certify the final EIR by determining that it was completed in compliance with CEQA.