Reasons for Exemption
Section 15301/Class 1 of the CEQA Guidelines exempts from the provisions of CEQA, projects consisting 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 use beyond that existing at the time of the lead agency's determination. The types of "existing facilities" itemized below are not intended to be all-inclusive of the types of projects which might fall within Class 1. The key consideration is whether the project involves negligible or no expansion of an existing use. An example of this exemption includes existing highways and streets, sidewalks, gutters, bicycle and pedestrian trails, and similar facilities (this includes road grading for the purpose of public safety).
Section 15302/Class 2 consists of replacement or reconstruction of existing structures and facilities where the new structure will be located on the same site as the structure replaced and will have substantially the same purpose and capacity as the structure replaced, including but not limited to: water main, sewage, electrical, gas, and other utility extensions, including street improvements, of reasonable length to serve such construction.
The Project is consistent with CEQA Guidelines, Sections 15301/Class 1 and 15302/Class 2 categorical exemptions because the project proposes reconstruction and improvements to existing landscaping median and sidewalk, ADA ramps, reinstallation or replacement of signage and striping, painting of eight (8) murals, establishment of Beautify Fresno Clubs at Webster and Hidalgo elementary schools, organization of eight (8) Beautify Fresno Club-hosted events, organization of four (4) City of Fresno-hosted volunteer clean up events at Webster, Hidalgo and Anthony elementary school neighborhoods, coordination of two (2) twelve week (12) anti-litter campaigns to include bus wraps, billboard ads and social media outreach, execution of a litter abatement contract to include the Blackstone Avenue and Abby Street business corridors from Belmont Avenue to Olive Avenue and the Belmont Avenue business corridor from Abby Street to First Street.
The infrastructure improvements will restore aging infrastructure to its original condition, make minor improvements to meet current requirements and provide improved walkability, comfort, and safety to the community.
The non-infrastructure improvements are focused on restoring the community to its originally intended condition by removing litter, on maintenance of that originally intended condition by educating and motivating community members to take an active role in beautifying Fresno, and on creating community pride.
The proposed improvements, including the non-infrastructure components of the project, are minor, do not constitute an expansion or change of use, and will improve the public right-of-way without increasing road capacity. The proposed project involves negligible expansion of the existing use and will have substantially the same purpose. The Project will align the community with the vision of the Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan as previously adopted by the Council and is aligned with Beautify Fresno’s mission to inspire residents to take pride in their community, and to take action to make the City a clean and beautiful place to live.
Based on staff analysis, it was determined that no adverse environmental impacts would occur as a result of the proposed project and none of the exceptions to categorical exemptions set forth in the CEQA Guidelines Section 15300.2 apply to this project. Therefore, a categorical exemption, as noted above, applies to the Project.