Reasons for Exemption
This project is sited within the jurisdiction of Kern County. Kern County, the lead agency, made the determination that this project is exempt from CEQA under Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15183 and the CEC is adopting those findings.
Specifically, on June 17, 2021, a public hearing was held in the Office of the Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Department (Kern County) to consider approval of the project. The Staff Report states that staff considered the applicable provisions of CEQA and State CEQA Guidelines. This included Section 15183, which “mandates that projects that are consistent with the development established by existing zoning, community plan, or General Plan policies for which an Environmental Impact Report was certified shall not require additional environmental review, except as might be necessary to examine whether there are project-specific effects which are peculiar to the project or its Site.”
Kern County staff then considered the Metropolitan Bakersfield General Plan (Plan), which was adopted along with a certified Environmental Impact Report by the County Board of Supervisors on December 3, 2002 (since amended). Staff concluded that this project is consistent with the goals and policies of the Plan and does not propose any changes to the map code designations established by the Plan. The Plan policies supported by the proposed industrial electric truck charging and solar energy development include Policy No. 31 (industrial development that allows for a variety of industrial uses including R&D and transportation-related use), Policy No. 32 (industrial development and protecting industrial designations from incompatible land use), and Policy No. 34 (industrial development to provide for clustering of new industrial development adjacent to existing industrial uses and along major transportation corridors). The project implements the site's existing map code designations of “Service Industrial” and “Solid Waste Facility Site.”
Ultimately, in Notice of Decision 15-21, dated June 17, 2021, the Hearing Officer of the Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Department conditionally approved the project. The findings of the Hearing Officer included that the project was to be categorically exempt from the requirements for preparation of environmental documents pursuant to Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15183. A Notice of Exemption (SCH 2021070397) was filed on July 20, 2021. Since the project was found to be consistent with the goals and policies of the Metropolitan Bakersfield General Plan and does not present any unusual circumstances, the CEC is adopting the CEQA findings of the lead agency.