Chapter 2.5: Definitions
§ 21060. Application of definitions
Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions in
this chapter govern the construction of this division.
§ 21060.1. Agricultural land
(a) "Agricultural land" means prime farmland, farmland of
statewide importance, or unique farmland, as defined by the United
States Department of Agriculture land inventory and monitoring
criteria, as modified for California.
(b) In those areas of the state where lands have not been surveyed
for the classifications specified in subdivision (a),
land" means land that meets the requirements of "prime
land" as defined in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of subdivision
(c) of Section 51201 of the Government Code.
§ 21060.3. Emergency
"Emergency" means a sudden, unexpected occurrence,
involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to
prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or
essential public services.
"Emergency" includes such occurrences as
fire, flood, earthquake, or other soil or geologic movements, as
well as such occurrences as riot, accident, or sabotage.
§ 21060.5. Environment
"Environment" means the physical conditions which exist
within the area which will be affected by a proposed project,
including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, noise, objects of
historic or aesthetic significance.
§ 21061. Environmental impact report
"Environmental impact report" means a detailed statement
setting forth the matters specified in Sections 21100 and 21100.1;
provided that information or data which is relevant to such a
statement and is a matter of public record or is generally available
to the public need not be repeated in its entirety in such statement,
but may be specifically cited as the source for conclusions stated
therein; and provided further that such information or data shall be
briefly described, that its relationship to the environmental impact
report shall be indicated, and that the source thereof shall be
reasonably available for inspection at a public place or public
building. An environmental
impact report also includes any comments
which are obtained pursuant to Section 21104 or 21153, or which are
required to be obtained pursuant to this division.
An environmental impact
report is an informational document which,
when its preparation is required by this division, shall be
considered by every public agency prior to its approval or
disapproval of a project. The
purpose of an environmental impact
report is to provide public agencies and the public in general with
detailed information about the effect which a proposed project is
likely to have on the environment; to list ways in which the
significant effects of such a project might be minimized; and to
indicate alternatives to such a project.
In order to facilitate the
use of environmental impact reports,
public agencies shall require that such reports contain an index or
table of contents and a summary.
Failure to include such index,
table of contents, or summary shall
not constitute a cause of action
pursuant to Section 21167.
§ 21061.1. Feasible
"Feasible" means capable of being accomplished in a
successful manner within a reasonable period of time, taking into
account economic, environmental, social, and technological factors.
§ 21061.2. Land evaluation and site assessment
"Land evaluation and site assessment" means a
decisionmaking methodology for assessing the potential environmental
impact of state and local projects on agricultural land.
§ 21061.3 Infill Site
"Infill site" means
a site in an urbanized area that
meets either of the following criteria:
(a) The immediately adjacent
parcels are developed with qualified
urban uses or at least 75 percent of the perimeter of the site
adjoins parcels that are developed with qualified urban uses and the
remaining 25 percent of the site adjoins parcels that have previously
been developed for qualified urban uses, and the site has not been
developed for urban uses and no parcel within the site has been
created within the past 10 years.
(b) The site has been
previously developed for qualified urban
§ 21062. Local agency
"Local agency" means any public agency other than a state
agency, board, or commission.
For purposes of this division a
redevelopment agency and a local agency formation commission are
local agencies, and neither is a state agency, board, or commission.
§ 21063. Public agency
"Public agency" includes any state agency, board, or
commission, any county, city and county, city, regional agency,
public district, redevelopment agency, or other political
§ 21064. Negative declaration
"Negative declaration" means a written statement briefly
describing the reasons that a proposed project will not have a
significant effect on the environment and does not require the
preparation of an environmental impact report.
§ 21064.3. Major transit stop
"Major transit stop" means a site containing an existing
rail transit station, a ferry terminal served by either a bus or rail
transit service, or the intersection of two or more major bus routes
with a frequency of service interval of 15 minutes or less during
the morning and afternoon peak commute periods.
§ 21064.5. Mitigated negative declaration
"Mitigated negative declaration" means a negative
declaration prepared for a project when the initial study has
identified potentially significant effects on the environment, but
(1) revisions in the project plans or proposals made by, or agreed to
by, the applicant before the proposed negative declaration and
initial study are released for public review would avoid the effects
or mitigate the effects to a point where clearly no significant
effect on the environment would occur, and (2) there is no
substantial evidence in light of the whole record before the public
agency that the project, as revised, may have a significant effect on
§ 21065. Project
"Project" means an
activity which may cause either a direct
physical change in the environment, or a reasonably foreseeable
indirect physical change in the environment, and which is any of the
(a) An activity directly undertaken by any public agency.
(b) An activity undertaken by a person which is supported, in
whole or in part, through contracts, grants, subsidies, loans, or
other forms of assistance from one or more public agencies.
(c) An activity that involves the issuance to a person of a lease,
permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement for use by one or
more public agencies.
§ 21065.3. Project-specific effect
"Project-specific effect" means all the direct or indirect
environmental effects of a project other than cumulative effects and
§ 21065.5. Geothermal exploratory project
"Geothermal exploratory project" means a project as
defined in Section 21065 composed of not more than six wells and
associated drilling and testing equipment, whose chief and original
purpose is to evaluate the presence and characteristics of geothermal
resources prior to commencement of a geothermal field development
project as defined in Section 65928.5 of the Government Code. Wells
included within a geothermal exploratory project must be located at
least one-half mile from geothermal development wells which are
capable of producing geothermal resources in commercial quantities.
§ 21066. Person
"Person" includes any person, firm, association,
organization, partnership, business, trust, corporation, limited
liability company, company, district, county, city and county, city,
town, the state, and any of the agencies and political subdivisions
of those entities, and, to the extent permitted by federal law, the
United States, or any of its agencies or political subdivisions.
§ 21067. Lead agency
"Lead agency" means the public agency which has the
principal responsibility for carrying out or approving a project
which may have a significant effect upon the
§ 21068. Significant effect on the environment
"Significant effect on the environment" means a substantial,
or potentially substantial, adverse change in the
§ 21068.5. Tiering or tier
"Tiering" or "tier" means the coverage of general
and environmental effects in an environmental impact report prepared
for a policy, plan, program or ordinance followed by narrower or
site-specific environmental impact reports which incorporate by
reference the discussion in any prior environmental impact report and
which concentrate on the environmental effects which (a) are capable
of being mitigated, or (b) were not analyzed as significant effects
on the environment in the prior environmental impact report.
§ 21069. Responsible agency
"Responsible agency" means a public agency, other than the
lead agency, which has responsibility for carrying out or approving a
§ 21070. Trustee Agency
"Trustee agency" means a state agency that has
jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by a project,
that are held in trust for the people of the State of California.
§ 21071. Urbanized area; definition;
"Urbanized area" means either of the following:
(a) An incorporated city that
meets either of the following
(1) Has a population of at
least 100,000 persons.
(2) Has a population of less
than 100,000 persons if the
population of that city and not more than two contiguous incorporated
cities combined equals at least 100,000 persons.
(b) An unincorporated area
that satisfies the criteria in both
paragraph (1) and (2) of the following criteria:
(1) Is either of the
(A) Completely surrounded by
one or more incorporated cities, and
both of the following criteria are met:
(i) The population of the
unincorporated area and the population
of the surrounding incorporated city or cities equals not less than
(ii) The population density
of the unincorporated area at least
equals the population density of the surrounding city or cities.
(B) Located within an urban
growth boundary and has an existing
residential population of at least 5,000 persons per square mile.
For purposes of this subparagraph, an "urban growth
boundary" means a
provision of a locally adopted general plan that allows urban uses
on one side of the boundary and prohibits urban uses on the other
(2) The board of supervisors
with jurisdiction over the
unincorporated area has previously taken both of the following
(A) Issued a finding that the general plan,
zoning ordinance, and
related policies and programs applicable to the unincorporated area
are consistent with principles that encourage compact development in
a manner that does both of the following:
(i) Promotes efficient
transportation systems, economic growth,
affordable housing, energy efficiency, and an appropriate balance of
jobs and housing.
(ii) Protects the
environment, open space, and agricultural areas.
(B) Submitted a draft finding
to the Office of Planning and
Research at least 30 days prior to issuing a final finding, and
allowed the office 30 days to submit comments on the draft findings
to the board of supervisors.
§ 21072. Qualified urban use; definition
“Qualified urban use" means any residential, commercial,
public institutional, transit or transportation passenger facility,
or retail use, or any combination of those uses.