San Diego

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California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

COVID-19 Update: Per PDF icon San Diego City Charter Article 15,  Section 295,  the City Council has suspended the application of CEQA for all Qualifying Projects. This allows the City to efficiently take appropriate actions to protect the health and safety of the homeless population and reduce the spread of COVID-19, among other emergency actions, consistent with California Governor Gavin Newsom’s PDF icon Executive Order N-32-20.

Also, in accordance Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s PDF icon Executive Order 2020-2, to limit unnecessary public exposure, follow social distancing requirements, protect public health, prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the continuity of City operations, hard copies of Notices of Right to Appeal (NORA) environmental determinations will not be posted at the downtown Development Services Center until further notice.


The City of San Diego is required by state and federal law to provide an analysis and public disclosure of the potential direct and indirect environmental impacts of all projects that require a discretionary action.

The process for reviewing these projects complies with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and with the CEQA Guidelines (Title 14, Chapter 3 of the California Code of Regulations). In certain cases, the review must also meet federal requirements pursuant to the PDF icon National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 42 U.S. Code Sections 4321-4347.

The San Diego Municipal Code specifically assigns the responsibility for implementation of CEQA to the Planning Department, which is charged with maintaining independence and objectivity in its review and analysis of the environmental impacts of all projects under its purview. Through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Planning Department, the City’s Development Services Department (DSD) is also authorized to implement CEQA for all private development projects, Capital Improvements Program projects and other DSD-initiated items.