STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Governor's Office of Planning and Research
1400 Tenth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
November 1997, Third Edition
OPR sincerely thanks the following people who generously gave their time to review and comment on the draft version of this advisory memo. We also want to thank Brian Smith of the City of Modesto for his practical suggestions on changes to the first edition, and John Bridges of Cotton-Beland Associates for his insights about preparing Master EIRs. Although the final version does not always reflect their views, their thoughtful contributions were extremely valuable. We appreciate their assistance.
Curtis Alling, Dames and Moore
Ron Bass, Jones and Stokes Associates
Ann R. Danforth, McCutchen, Doyle, Brown, and Enersen
Al Herson, Jones and Stokes Associates
Mark Riesenfeld, Marin County Community Development Agency
J. William Yeates, Remy and Thomas
Michael H. Zischke, Landels, Ripley, and Diamond
Assembly Bill 1888 of the 1993 legislative session (Chapter 1130, Stats. 1993) added a new word to the CEQA lexicon: "Master EIR." A Master EIR is intended to provide a detailed environmental review of plans and programs upon which the approval of subsequent related development proposals can be based. A Master EIR must, to the greatest extent feasible, evaluate the cumulative impacts, growth inducing impacts, and irreversible significant effects on the environment of specific, subsequent projects. Pursuant to AB 1888, the review of subsequent projects which have been described in the Master EIR can be limited to the extent that the Master EIR has already reviewed project impacts and set forth mitigation measures (Public Resources Code Section 21156).
The following advisory paper examines the basic requirements for preparing and using a Master EIR at the local government level, including the provisions for "Focused EIRs." This advisory reflects the CEQA Guidelines; it is not intended to amend or replace the regulations represented by the Guidelines. All code citations refer to the Public Resources Code unless otherwise noted.
This edition of Focusing on Master EIRs reflects statutes enacted by and the CEQA Guidelines effective at the end of the 1997 Legislative year.
The Guidelines now have an extensive discussion of Master EIRs, beginning
at Section 15175. As always, users should refer to the most recent Public
Resources Code to ensure that they are aware of any subsequent amendments.
This advisory is not intended to take the place of advice by legal counsel.