Most proposals for development will require the applicant to undergo at least some environmental review in compliance with CEQA. CEQA is required for projects that will have a substantial impact on the community. However, even small-size projects must follow the CEQA process, especially if they have adverse impacts on the environment.
The Act focuses on the project applicant bearing the burden of the cost as the community assesses the project. In short, the public does not pay for this process. CEQA requires the governing agency to review the project in its totality, not one-off smaller pieces. This ensures the broadest impact is weighed and measured throughout this process.