Reasons for Exemption
Section 15301 of the CEQA Guidelines (Class 1, Existing Facilities) consists of the operation, repair, maintenance, permitting, leasing, licensing, or minor alteration of existing public or private structures, facilities, mechanical equipment, or topographical features, involving negligible or no expansion of existing or former use. The key consideration is whether the project involves negligible or no expansion of use. The Project is an ordinance that will not have a direct physical impact on the environment, as it only establishes the permitting requirements for existing facilities by amending the County Code. The Ordinance will apply to future projects that involve existing wireless facilities that may require a renewed Conditional Use Permit, receive a collocation on an existing support structure, or for upgrades or replacements, including Eligible Facilities Requests under Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act. Such modifications or upgrades to existing facilities will be minor by nature, and will not increase the on-the-ground footprint of the wireless facility. Any wireless facility application that does not qualify for this exemption will undergo required environmental review pursuant to CEQA.
Reasons for Exemption
Section 15303 of the CEQA Guidelines (Class 3, New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures) consists of the construction and location of limited numbers of new, small facilities or structures; 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. The Project is an ordinance that will not have a direct physical impact on the environment, as it only establishes permitting requirements for new and replacement wireless facilities by amending the County Code. The Ordinance will apply to future wireless facility projects that typically require only a small footprint on the ground (much smaller than a new single-family residence or a small commercial structure of less than 2,500 square feet that qualifies under this exemption), and is similar to utility infrastructure. In the case of SCFs, such facilities are defined by federal law and have strict size limitations that require it to be inherently small in size. The Ordinance also contemplates discretionary review by the County for certain types of macro wireless facilities and thus, they and any other wireless facility that does not meet this exemption will undergo required environmental review pursuant to CEQA.