Solar Panel Installation at J. Thorman Elementary / A.G. Currie Middle Schools

Summary

SCH Number
2017058581
Lead Agency
Tustin Unified School District
Document Title
Solar Panel Installation at J. Thorman Elementary / A.G. Currie Middle Schools
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Received

Document Description
Tustin Unified School District proposes to install shade structure photovoltaic arrays at J. Thorman Elementary / A.G. Currie Middle Schools. The proposed project would involve installing elevated shade structures to house the solar energy panel systems and would occur over parking lots and turf fields. Seven structures would be installed, four over paved parking lots in the northeast and three over turf fields in the east and northwest. Project installation would not impact the use of the parking lots or turf fields. Twenty-three ornamental landscape trees would be removed to allow for unshaded solar energy collection. To connect the panels to the school's electrical system, the wiring would be installed underground and connected directly to the school's existing electrical system. The solar systems would produce approximately 80% of the school's electricity demand, reducing the District's reliance on utility-supplied electricity and improving the environment by reducing the District's contribution to global warming emissions. No increases in enrollment, capacity or intensity of uses are proposed as part of this project. The project would be installed per Division of the State Architect (DSA) approved design specifications. The project would be executed per appropriate and current District standards, guidelines and construction Best Management Practices (BMPs). The new solar structures would serve as campus improvements, and as such, the beneficiaries of the project include the school's students, faculty, staff and members of the community.

Contact Information
David Miranda
Tustin Unified School District
1302 Service Road
Tustin, CA 92780

(714) 730-7327

Location

Cities
Tustin
Counties
Orange
Other Location Info
1402 Sycamore Avenue

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
S: 15303, 21080.35, Class 3
Reasons for Exemption
CEQA Guidelines Section 15303 Class 3 consists of construction and location of limited numbers of new, small facilities or structure: installation of small new equipment and facilities in small structures; and the conversion of existing small structures from one use to another where only minor modifications are made in the exterior of the structure. Solar arrays would be mounted on proposed overhead shade structures similar to carport structures over turf fields; thus, the project would be categorically exempt from CEQA. The project would enhance the renewable energy capabilities of the school and the structures installed over turf fields would not alter or expand the use of the fields. Further, a review of the possible exceptions to the exemption (CEQA Guidelines Section 15303) determined that no exceptions exist and the school project qualifies for the categorical exemption. CEQA Guidelines Section 21080.35 provides that solar energy systems installed on the roof of an existing building or on an existing parking lot are statutorily exempt from CEQA. The structures installed over the existing parking lots would not alter or expand the use of the parking lots. Further, a review of the possible exceptions to the exemption (CEQA Guidelines Section 21080.35) determined that no exceptions exist and the school project qualifies for the statutory exemption. Greater detail of the categorical and statutory exemptions can be found in the Supplement to J. Thorman Elementary / A.G. Currie Middle Schools Solar Energy Project.
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