Negative Declaration Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Negative Declaration, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Negative Declaration?

It refers to the finidings by the local government or municipalities that a proposed project has no significant environmental effect and thereby the developer of such property need not file a report on environmental effect of that project.

History and Meaning of Negative Declaration

A Negative Declaration is a legal term used to describe a written determination by a government agency that a proposed project will not have any significant environmental effects. Such declarations are often required by law prior to the start of a development project. Once issued, a Negative Declaration allows the project developer to bypass the more detailed environmental review procedures which would otherwise be required under environmental laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The use of negative declarations is intended to provide a more streamlined review process for development projects which are not expected to cause significant environmental impacts.

Examples of Negative Declaration

Here are a few examples of how the term "Negative Declaration" might be used in different contexts:

  • The City Council issued a Negative Declaration for the proposed hotel development project, finding that it would not have any significant environmental impacts.
  • The environmental review process for the new shopping mall project was expedited because a Negative Declaration had been issued, indicating that no significant environmental effects would result.
  • The development company was able to start construction on the housing project after a Negative Declaration was issued by the county, indicating that there would be no significant effects on the surrounding area.

Legal Terms Similar to Negative Declaration

Here are some related legal terms to "Negative Declaration":

  • Environmental Impact Report (EIR): A document that outlines the potential environmental impacts of a proposed project and evaluates ways to reduce or avoid those impacts
  • Mitigated Negative Declaration: A type of Negative Declaration which acknowledges that a project may have significant environmental effects but imposes specific mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate those effects
  • Categorical Exemption: An exemption from the environmental review process for certain types of projects which are considered to have minimal environmental impact