CAA Planning provides a full range of planning and environmental services including:


Environmental Analysis

EIRs, EISs and other CEQA or NEPA compliance

CAA Planning are leaders in the development of progressive programs for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This innovation alone has saved builders and landowners millions of dollars.

CAA has prepared numerous CEQA compliance documents, including EIR's and EIS's, for both private and public sector projects.

Some of the more controversial project EIRs prepared by CAA include:

        North Costa Mesa High-Rise Residential Program EIR

        MacArthur Place South EIR

        Boating and Instructional Safety Center EIR

        Tonner Hills Planned Community Program EIR

        Arroyo Vista K-8 Conversion Supplemental EIR

        Community School No. 1 EIR

        Santa Monica Airport Park EIR

        Laguna Laurel Planned Community

        Upper Newport Bay Dredging and Rehabilitation Plan

        City of Beaumont General Plan Program EIR

        Laguna Niguel Planned Community Program EIR

        Alta Mira/The Canyons at Bighorn in Palm Desert (one square mile of Palm Desert)

        Ortega Rock Quarry on Rancho Mission Viejo

        Theo Lacy and Musick Jail Expansion

Our philosophy is to resist requirement of an EIR or EIS unless it is legally necessary. If one must be written, however, we strive to make sure it has the best chance possible of standing the test of litigation. We have successfully prepared a defensible Mitigated Negative Declaration for a variety of projects including:

        Balboa Marina Dock Replacement Mitigated Negative Declaration

        West End Pump Station Mitigated Negative Declaration

        Seal Beach Shopping Center Renovation Mitigated Negative Declaration

        Vista Focus Academy Mitigated Negative Declaration

        Family Literacy Center Mitigated Negative Declaration

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California Coastal Act/Coastal Zone Project Processing

CAA Planning has represented applicants for land development projects throughout the Coastal Zone of California, and maintain outstanding statutory, legal, and Coastal Commission relations in this area.

The reputation of CAA as legal experts in the Coastal Act, as responsible communicators with the Commission, and as a team player with our clients has been responsible for our success in this area.

Our projects in the Coastal Zone have encompassed some of the most controversial and notorious issues in the Coastal Zone, all accomplished to approval without alienation of the staff or the Commission.

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Land Use Regulations

More than twenty five years ago, Chairman C. David Culbertson developed a new zoning philosophy and format which has since been applied to nearly every major landholding in South Orange County.

Prior to the new philosophy, nearly all zoning regulations allowed only a narrow range of uses on a piece of property. All others were prohibited. Recognizing the negative side of these rigid regulations, co-founder, C. David Culbertson developed a more builder/developer friendly zoning format and philosophy that was adopted by the County of Orange.

One of the major benefits of this new zoning philosophy is the ability to respond to market forces without the need for unnecessary, time consuming and costly zone changes and amendments. This approach can be applied to zoning, specific plans, and local coastal programs.

Major landowners throughout southern California have adopted CAA's philosophy because it saves money and time for large-scale comprehensive land development.

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Coastal Development Permits, Subdivisions, Vesting Maps, Site Plans, Development Agreements & Other Entitlement Tools

We have an extensive background in the preparation and processing of all entitlements necessary for new and redevelopment projects.

CAA Planning prepared the original Coastal Development Permits in 2003 for the Pelican Hill Resort and has since processed several amendments to the 2003 Coastal Development Permits in response to a design theme change and architectural and engineering refinements throughout the four Pelican Hill Resort components. While the resort is under construction currently, CAA's role continues beyond the minor amendments noted and includes building permit processing, assistance, and monitoring of compliance with conditions of approval.

For Mission Viejo Company, CAA developed a strategy with the company to vest the entire remainder of its undeveloped Orange County holdings - over 9,100 dwelling units at the time. Vesting maps and CEQA compliance were prepared and processed through the necessary governmental agencies in record time.

For Hemmeter Development Corporation's 1,125-room hotel complex in Monarch Beach, CAA developed the strategy, represented the company at public meetings and hearings, and managed the sub-consultants for the processing of all permits.

CAA processed the project through the County of Orange in eight weeks (with unanimous approval of both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors) and through the California Coastal Commission in 49 days. The Coastal Commission approval was also unanimous.

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Natural Resource Protection

One of the most challenging areas in entitlements at the present time involves the regulatory constraints with respect to wetlands, endangered species, and resource conservation. The multiple agencies involved in the areas at the federal, state and local level demand the most proficient knowledge not only of regulations, but also of negotiating opportunities. Constructive treatment of these issues can result not only in a successful blend of the project's aims with these concerns, but can also avoid subjecting the process to multiple - and sometimes inconsistent - requirements.

We take great pride in our accomplishments in these areas with respect to several projects, including the establishment and use of wetland mitigation banks, alternative wetland delineations through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (resulting in fewer wetlands acres involved), and work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on endangered species, habitat conservation plans, and species listing concerns. On the 760 Reservoir project, involvement led to a significant reduction in impacts to Coastal Sage Scrub and Resource Agency concurrence was received within a matter of months. Most importantly, we have used our negotiating skills and strategic knowledge to extricate projects from the problems sometimes encountered in these resource areas, and have written several interagency compacts to effectuate agreement on these resource issues.

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General & Community Planning

CAA Planning has managed and produced general and community planning projects in the public and private sectors. Representative projects include:

o   Mission Viejo Planned Community

o   Aliso Viejo Planned Community

o   Newport (Irvine) Coast Planned Community

o   Seal Beach General Plan

o   Bear Brand Planned Community (Ocean Ranch)

o   Santa Margarita Planned Community

o   Portola Hills Planned Community

o   Foothill Ranch Planned Community

o   Laguna Niguel Planned Community

o   Laguna Laurel Planned Community

o   Talega Valley Specific Plan

o   Monarch Beach Local Coastal Plan

o   Forster Ranch Specific Plan

o   City of Beaumont General Plan

o   City of Mission Viejo General Plan Amendments

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Project Management & Preconstruction Monitoring

Over the years, landowners, builders and governmental agencies have discovered it is more cost-effective to hire CAA Planning to manage their preconstruction processing than it is to hire an in-house manager with enough expertise to do the job efficiently.

A partial listing of clients that have used CAA for project management include:

        The Irvine Company


        Shea Homes

        Capital Pacific Holdings


        County of Los Angeles, Department of Beaches and Harbors


        City of San Juan Capistrano

        Balboa Bay Club

        BaccHus Development

        Capistrano Unified School District

        Hemmeter Development Corporation

        AVCO Community Developers

        Hon Development Company

        Soka University of America


        Pacific Gateway

        Parker Properties

        Simon DeBartolo

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Subconsultant Coordination

Based on numerous years of experience in the environmental planning field, CAA Planning has found that an interdisciplinary team approach best serves the client's interest and ensures the integrity of a project's analysis. CAA has also determined that the top technical specialists are most often found in their own consulting businesses. Therefore, CAA relies upon other consultants recognized and respected in their fields of expertise; such areas include traffic, noise, air quality, geotechnical, and water quality analysis. This association, in the form of subconsultant agreements, ensures that technical, consultant expertise is customized to individual client and project needs. As part of our services, CAA manages any sub-consultants necessary to the project.

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Governmental Relations

One of the most important techniques for insuring project success in the entitlement field is early and convincing governmental relations at the local, state and federal levels. This can be at a staff level and/or at the decision-making level. The knowledge possessed by our company - or acquired in new jurisdictions through our many contacts - insures a fair hearing and early warning of concerns or opportunities for advancing the project.

Our contacts in this regard are always above reproach in scope and context. Perhaps the best evidence of this statement is that many of the decision makers we deal with are the persons who recommend us when consulted by potential applicants.

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Special Studies

We offer in-house expertise in a number of specialized areas, including:

        Environmental Opportunities and Constraints Analyses

        Land Use Feasibility Studies

        Pre-purchase Research and Assessment

        Affordable Housing Implementation Programs

        Expert Witness Representation

As part of our services, CAA manages any subconsultants necessary to the project, including civil engineers, land planners, architects, biologists, botanists, archaeologists, paleontologists, noise study and acoustical engineers, and traffic engineers.

Our goal in the management of these consultants is to see that all studies are complete, accurate, on schedule and within budget.

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