In 2010, the City of Mill Valley did prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a similar version of this project, then known as Blithedale Terrace. That 2010 Blithedale Terrace project was not approved and that prior 2010 EIR was not certified. For the current project, the City has carefully followed the environmental review process as established under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and as specifically provided under CEQA Guidelines Section 15060 through 15065. Based on these applicable provisions of CEQA, the City has prepared an Initial Study/CEQA Checklist to determine whether the Project may have a significant effect on the environment.
The Initial Study/CEQA Checklist provides information and analysis that supports a determination that the project qualifies as an Infill Development project as defined in CEQA Guidelines Section 15332, and is therefore categorically exempt from any further CEQA review. The information and analysis included in the Initial Study also substantiates a conclusion that no exceptions to this CEQA exemption apply to the project.
Furthermore, the Initial Study/CEQA checklist provides information and analysis that demonstrates the project is consistent with the Mill Valley 2040 General Plan and applicable zoning regulations, and therefore qualifies under CEQA Guidelines Section 15183 as a project that is consistent with a community plan or general plan. These provisions of CEQA are intended to streamline the environmental review of certain types of projects, and to reduce the need to prepare repetitive environmental studies. Such projects do not require additional environmental review beyond that conducted for the General Plan EIR, except as necessary to examine whether there are project-specific significant effects that may be peculiar to the project or its site. The Initial Study/CEQA Checklist provides analysis that supports a determination that the project would not result in new or more severe significant environmental effects than were previously addressed in the prior Mill Valley 2040 General Plan EIR, and that the project will not have any project-specific significant effects that are peculiar to the project or its site.
Unless the Mill Valley Planning Commission and/or the Mill Valley City Council disagree, the Initial Study/CEQA Checklist is the most appropriate approach for CEQA documentation of the Project. It fully analyzes the environmental impacts of the project and provides substantial evidence to support a conclusion that the Project is exempt from CEQA under CEQA Guidelines Sections 15332, and is eligible for CEQA streamlining provisions under CEQA Guidelines Section 15183. If the Mill Valley Planning Commission and/or the Mill Valley City Council disagrees, that circumstance would trigger preparation of a Mitigated Negative Declaration or an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project.