Reasons for Exemption
The City’s review/approval authority pursuant to the City’s Zoning Ordinance for the proposed project is limited to Site Plan and Design Review pursuant to Carson Municipal Code (CMC) Section 9172.23. CEQA applies only to discretionary projects proposed to be carried out or approved by public agencies, and the discretionary component of an action must give the agency the authority to consider a project's environmental consequences to trigger CEQA. Although Site Plan and Design Review approvals pursuant to CMC Section 9172.23(B)(1), such as the proposed project, involve discretion of the City in applying the facts to determine if the required affirmative findings of CMC Section 9172.23(D) can be made, the City’s discretion is limited to the design-related issues entailed in said required findings. Accordingly, the City cannot impose conditions of approval of DOR No. 1926-23 that constitute environmental impact mitigation measures exceeding the scope of such design-related issues. Additionally, design related issues such as those found in CMC 9172.23/DOR No. 1926-23 have been found not to require the separate invocation of CEQA, as it is common sense that such design-related issues do not relate to the potential for whether a project causes a significant effect on the environment. (Pub. Res. Code §21080; McCorkle Eastside Neighborhood Group v. City of St. Helena, 31 Cal.App.5th 80 (2018)).