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Negative Declaration(4)



                               About “Negative Declarations”
What is a Negative Declaration?
A negative declaration is a document required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Such a declaration is prepared when an agency determines that it lacks substantial evidence that a project
will have a significant effect on the environment. The agency may also prepare a negative declaration if the
project has potentially significant impacts on the environment that can be reduced or eliminated before the
negative declaration undergoes public review. This latter type of negative declaration is known as a
“mitigated negative declaration.”

General Concepts
The purpose of processes required by the California Environmental Quality Act is to provide decision-
makers with information about the environmental consequences of a project when they make their decision
on the project. If an agency determines that a project may have significant effects on the environment, it
will prepare an environmental analysis called an environmental impact report (also known by its acronym

The agency decides whether an environmental impact report or a negative declaration will be prepared
based on a process called an initial study. The purpose of the initial study is to determine whether a project
may have a significant impact on the environment. If there will not be such an impact, the agency prepares
a negative declaration which contains: (1) a description of the project; (2) the location of the project; (3) a
proposed finding that the project will not have a significant environmental impact; (4) a copy of the initial
study documenting reasons to support the finding; and (5) mitigation measures, if any, incorporated into the
project. “Mitigation measures” are measures to reduce or eliminate adverse environmental impacts
associated with the project.

Decision-Making Process

A proposed negative declaration is circulated for public review prior to its adoption by public agency
decision-makers. The meeting at which the negative declaration will be considered for adoption is
described in the notice attached to this document.

At this meeting, decision-makers will hear from anyone who has information that might bear on whether
the negative declaration should be approved. Interested individuals may present information orally or in
writing. If you want to participate in any public hearings that occur, you may find it helpful to review
“Participating in the Decision-making Process” on the reverse of this page.

Note that approving a negative declaration with respect to a project is not the same as approving the project

For More Information on Environmental Impact Reports and
the California Environmental Quality Act

   State of California website on California Environmental Quality Act:

   The Planning Commissioner’s Handbook, Institute for Local Government, 2005, Chapter 4: The
    Planning Framework (

   Solano Press ( has a number of land use related publications, including one on the
    California Environmental Quality Act

   California Public Resources Code Section 21000 and following ( (accessible from

                              G:\INSTITUTE\Land Use and Housing (formerly CLP)\One Pagers\Negative Declaration.doc

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