Reasons for Exemption
Agreement will not cause direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment because: This project is sited within the jurisdiction of the City of Richmond (City). The City as 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 December 14, 2022, a public hearing was held by the City of Richmond Design Review Board, which considered approval of the project. The City of Richmond Design Review Board reviewed the Portside Commerce Center CEQA Guidelines Section 15183 Checklist, which includes environmental analysis and 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.” Staff then considered the City of Richmond General Plan Update (Plan), which was adopted along with a certified Environmental Impact Report by the City of Richmond Development Services Department in August 2011 (since updated). . Staff concluded that this project is consistent with the goals and policies of the Plan. The policies supported by the proposed battery assembly facility supports key goals from the Plan such as: EC5.1 which promotes Green Businesses and Jobs; LU3.J which support heavy industry’s on-going efforts to modernize and upgrade their plants to reduce energy use, increase efficiency and reduce emissions; and LU4.A which support on-going efforts to plan and redevelop key shoreline areas to fully transform them from blighted areas into resources and amenities for the community. The project is consistent with the site’s existing map code zoning designation of "Industrial, Water-Related (IW) District." Ultimately, the City of Richmond Design Review Board 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. Since the project was found to be consistent with the goals and policies of the City of Richmond’s General Plan Update and does not present any unusual circumstances, CEC is adopting the CEQA findings of the lead agency.