What is a Mitigated Negative Declaration?

The district very recently posted a notice to their website regarding a Public Meeting being held tomorrow night (See My Previous Post). It's the first I've heard of it and I try to watch all news sources. I haven't seen anything in the local papers, I haven't been making a daily trip by the district office to look in the windows, and I don't remember it being brought up in last week's board meeting. I went back and reviewed my packet from last week's board meeting and there's no mention of it in the superintendent's review of the district calendar, oh well. Knowing the district as I do, I am sure they followed the minimum legal requirements and I bet the notice went up on their site just about 72 hours ago, probably sometime Monday. 

The meeting is concerning the expansion of Beaumont High School.

Information on the project, as well as the California Environmental Quality Act process, will be presented at the meeting. After the presentation, public comments and questions will be accepted.

I was planning on going to "Cozy up With a Book Night" at my daughter's school tomorrow night but I will do my best to sneak away and drop by the high school and check it out. I will post (Tweet) on Twitter from there if I can make it. If you are going to attend the meeting and want to help me inform parents of what's going on, just make sure you include #BUSD in your tweet. This way anyone with a Twitter account can search for"#BUSD" and get all the news.

I think we all understand, or at least can guess, what the California Environmental Quality Act has to do with the construction project but the document, Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), caught my eye.  The public notice put out by the district says copies of the MND will be available for 30 days(starting 12 days ago) at the district office. I wonder if their will be any copies available tomorrow night. If not, I will get a copy from the district and post it as soon as I can.

I found a useful link to a brief article regarding MNDs and Initial Studies. Below are the first two paragraphs.

Click here to view the full article.


What is a Negative Declaration?

When faced with a discretionary project which is not exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a Lead Agency must prepare an "initial study" to determine whether the project may have a significant adverse effect on the environment. If such an effect may occur, the Lead Agency must prepare an environmental impact report (EIR). If there is no substantial evidence for such an effect, or if the potential effect can be reduced to a level of insignificance through project revisions, a Negative Declaration can be adopted (Section 21080).

A mitigated Negative Declaration is used in the second situation. The statute provides that mitigated Negative Declarations are used "when the initial study has identified potentially significant effects on the environment, but (1) revisions in the project plans or proposals made by, or agreed to by, the applicant before the proposed negative declaration and initial study are released for public review would avoid the effects or mitigate the effects to a point where clearly no significant effect on the environment would occur, and (2) there is no substantial evidence in light of the whole record before the public agency that the project, as revised, may have a significant effect on the environment" (Section 21064.5).