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The California Environmental Quality Act: How it Really Works

Adopted in 1970, the California Environmental Quality Act is critical to the protection of the state’s historic resources. All projects undertaken by a public agency, and many projects undertaken by private parties, are subject to CEQA review. Despite its widespread and effective use as a preservation tool, it is frequently misunderstood or misinterpreted. This workshop will explore CEQA from different perspectives: historic preservation professionals, City staff members, and preservation advocates. Through a series of case studies, participants will discuss the strengths and limitations of CEQA in evaluating project impacts on historic resources, implementing appropriate mitigation measures, and advocating for historic properties. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions or case studies about projects in their local communities.

Learning Objectives

  1. Develop a working knowledge of CEQA guidelines and its applicability in historic preservation.
  2. Understand the CEQA process and thresholds.
  3. Review recent case studies to understand how CEQA is applied and how project impacts are identified and analyzed.
  4. Understand the most frequently applied mitigation measures and the enforcement of mitigation.
  5. Assist participants with CEQA-related issues in their local communities.

Handouts & Program


  • Nicole Gordon, Esq., Sohagi Law Group
  • Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy, Los Angeles Conservancy/li>
  • Ken Bernstein, Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources/li>
  • Jan Ostashay, Ostashay & Associates, Inc./li>