California State University Monterey Bay proposes to construct a heat recovery chiller plant to improve cooling capacity on campus and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The underground water supply and return pipelines would be extended from the existing Central Heating Plant to the proposed cooling towers. The heat recovery chiller plant equipment would consist of above-ground piping, underground piping, valves, pumps, a trim boiler, and heat pumps.
The project qualifies for the common sense exemption (State CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3))), which states, “Where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA.” Air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and noise analyses were conducted and it was determined that the proposed project would not result in significant impacts.
The project consists of minor alteration of an existing public structure and will involve only minor modifications to the building exterior. Although the project is otherwise consistent with the qualifications for Class I and Class 3 categorical exemptions from CEQA per Sections 15301 and 15303 of the State CEQA Guidelines, the CSU Monterey Bay campus is located on the former Fort Ord Superfund site, and pursuant to the State CEQA Guidelines, Section 15300(h), Hazardous Waste Sites, categorical exemptions are inapplicable for projects so located. Because the majority of the proposed improvements will take place interior to an existing building and underground, with the limited exception of the cooling towers described above, it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the proposed project may have a significant effect on the environment.