Drafting Programmatic EIRs: Lessons Learned & Practical Tips



Friday, May 19, 2017
1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. CDT

San Francisco, CA, United States

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CEQA practitioners often divide themselves into two camps: those that prepare project EIRs and those that prepare program EIRs. Most of us fall into the “project” camp, and have trouble adjusting our perspective accordingly for a programmatic EIR. Although the California courts clarified in 2014 that the project vs program label doesn’t really matter – the level of specificity in an EIR should be dictated by the nature of the project – there are some fundamentally different approaches to the CEQA evaluation of a General Plan or other planning document, especially one that applies to an entire county, city, or specific plan area, than for a specific development project with known construction and operation details. This session will delve into the nuts and bolts of programmatic EIRs, focusing on issues that are specific to plan-level documents, as well as how aspects of the EIR and analysis are different in a program EIR than in a project EIR. We’ll cover issues related to self-mitigating plans; identifying and evaluating plan buildout, including when a plan has a very long-term buildout; use of policies, programs, and measures as mitigation; project alternatives, cumulative analysis, and response to comments in a plan context; and setting up for and implementing future tiering. Panelists will offer perspectives from local agency, consulting, and legal backgrounds to share best practices on these and other aspects of programmatic EIRs. We’ll also present case studies from Cupertino, Vacaville, and Butte County to illustrate these issues and how the lessons learned can be applied to other program EIRs.




Fred Buderi

Fred Buderi is City Planner for the City of Vacaville, overseeing the Community Development Department’s Advanced Planning Division. The division completed the City’s General Plan Update and Energy & Conservation Action Strategy (ECAS – the City’s Climate Action Plan) in late 2015 and is now overseeing the implementation of ... Read More

Margaret Sohagi

Margaret M. Sohagi is a recognized authority on CEQA, NEPA, climate change and land use planning. She has extensive experience in general plan updates, sensitive resources, the Coastal Act, planning and zoning, takings and First Amendment, including the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), impact fees, rates and ... Read More

Piu Ghosh

Piu Ghosh has been a member of the City of Cupertino's Planning Division for over a decade. She has been involved in several large development projects in the City including the Apple Campus project, Community Vision 2040 and most recently, the Hills at Vallco. In her professional life, Ghosh ... Read More

Tanya Sundberg

Tanya Sundberg is a Senior Associate with PlaceWorks, where she manages a variety of comprehensive and environmental planning projects. Tanya falls into the “program” camp, with most of her CEQA work focused on general plans, specific plans, ordinances, climate plans, and other policy documents. For many of her CEQA projects ... Read More

Contact Info

Lynne Bynder, lbynder@meetingsxceptional.com