The Joint Project Review Process allows RCA to monitor implementation of the MSHCP. It does not infringe on the local land use authority of cities or other agencies, but instead, subjects development applications within the Criteria Area to review in order to determine if they have the potential to affect the goals of the MSHCP or, in the case of infrastructure projects, connections between major areas of habitat that are being conserved.
RCA charges nominal fees for the Joint Project Review process in order to recover the costs of this service.
RCA and staff from the member agency review not only private sector but also public sector projects together. Members must submit projects within two weeks of receiving applications.
A project application shall include, at a minimum, a project description, concept map indicating the location of the proposed project and application of MSHCP requirements, and Assessors Parcel Number.
As part of the Initial Project Review, RCA staff completes a checklist of actions necessary for the project, including requirements for protection of habitats, plants, and requirements for biological surveys.
After an Initial Project Review meeting or RCA receiving an application where no meeting is held, RCA staff prepares comments that address the project’s compliance with the MSHCP within two weeks. These comments are then forwarded to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish & Game who respond to RCA’s comments within 10 days.
In the event a project fails to comply with the requirements of the MSHCP, RCA, the member agency submitting the project, and in the case of a private project—the project applicant—meet and confer to resolve any issues, including the development of conditions of approval. This meeting must take place within 30 days of the time RCA first made its comments on the project.
If RCA staff and the member agency are still unable to resolve outstanding issues, the matter is referred to an ad hoc committee of elected officials representing both RCA and the member agency. The ad hoc committee must meet within 30 days to review the project and develop feasible solutions.
In the event that the ad hoc committee is unable to reach a mutually agreeable solution, and the member agency intends to proceed with approval of the project, RCA staff notifies U.S. Fish & Wildlife and the California department of Fish & Game who can suspend the parts of the RCA permit that allow such projects to proceed.