Environmental Coordination Services

What We Do

Environmental Coordination Services was established to coordinate the environmental review process in Placer County. Most land development projects require some level of environmental review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and this office ensures that projects in environmental review stay on track with time frames established by both the County and State of California. The environmental review process is the first step for land development proposals and results in the preparation of an environmental document (Negative Declaration; Mitigated Negative Declaration; Environmental Impact Report, etc.). The document includes analysis of the potential environmental impact of a proposed project, and in many cases, identifies appropriate mitigation measures to reduce impacts. Some project proposals are Exempt from environmental review such as Variances, Building Permits, and some Minor Use Permits.

ECS TeamActive Project List

Placer County's CEQA Active Projects list identifies current projects which are going through the environmental review process. The CEQA Active Projects list is available in both alphabetical order and by Board of Supervisors District. This listing does not include projects that are Exempt from environmental review.

Notice of Determination Fees

When the environmental document is adopted or certified, the final step of the environmental review process is the filing of the Notice of Determination. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fees for filing the "Notice of Determination" are:

  • Negative Declarations - $2,966.25 (includes $50 Recorder’s fee)
  • Environmental Impact Reports - $4,101.25 (includes $50 Recorder’s fee)

New Transportation Metric for CEQA Analysis

In 2013, the State of California passed Senate Bill 743 (SB 743), which required CEQA lead agencies to change the transportation metric analyzed in environmental documents. Previously, the industry standard for assessing transportation impacts was Level of Service (LOS), which assesses roadway capacity based on measures like speed, density, delay, etc. On July 1, 2020, SB 743 went into effect requiring lead agencies to transition to using Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) to evaluate transportation impacts. VMT is a measurement of the number of miles traveled by passenger cars and light duty trucks over a given time period. Typically, development projects that are in rural areas generate more VMT than development near complementary land uses with access to goods, services, jobs, and transportation options. 

This change is intended to capture the impacts of driving on the environment rather than the impacts of delay on drivers. Additionally, LOS analysis may still be required as part of a project’s land use entitlement process and all projects will still be required to participate in the County’s fee programs. However, LOS will no longer be the basis for transportation impacts under CEQA.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors adopted VMT thresholds and screening criteria for transportation impacts on December 1, 2020 based on the requirements of SB 743. The County has established a methodology, VMT metric, and thresholds needed to analyze VMT in a CEQA document. Any discretionary project that will be in a public review process will need to assess VMT in their environmental document. The adopted thresholds and screening criteria can be found in the Transportation Study Guidelines (TSG) on the Department of Public Works website. The purpose of the TSG is to provide a clear and consistent technical approach to preparing transportation studies in Placer County. A Transportation Study may include two types of analysis:

  • CEQA impact analysis that addresses compliance with the State CEQA requirements and expectations, including SB 743.
  • A local transportation assessment that demonstrates project consistency with General Plan goals and policies. 

Placer County will primarily review transportation studies based on the guidance presented in the TSG. However, each project is unique. Not all criteria and analysis will apply to every project. Early and consistent communication with CDRA and DPW staff is encouraged for all projects. 

For more information about SB 743, view our Fact Sheet.

Project applicants who have questions about VMT should direct them to Leigh Chavez or Katie Jackson.