For your convenience, this alphabetical index cites available OPR publications. Click the appropriate letter of the alphabet to browse listings. The majority of the publications are in a .pdf format which may be viewed with Acrobat Reader downloadable directly from Adobe.

Many of these documents are several years old and statutory changes may have occurred since publication.


Addressing Naturally Occurring Asbestos in CEQA Documents (July 2008)
This advisory memorandum provides guidance to Lead Agencies to analyze the impacts of naturally occurring asbestos on the environment through the CEQA review process.
Announcements from the State Clearinghouse 
Review the latest announcements from the SCH, including news about CEQA updates, Circulation and Notices, and Publications.
Annual Planning Survey

As of 2012, the California Planners’ Book of Lists was discontinued. In its place, OPR now publishes the Directory of California Planning Agencies and the Annual Planning Survey Results.

The Annual Planning Survey Results includes an analysis of the results of the prior year’s Annual Planning Survey; the results of OPR’s 2011 Annual Planning Survey; a cumulative index of topics asked in previous Annual Planning Surveys; and, status of local General Plans.

Area Planning Commissions (July 1980)
Book of Lists (see California Planners' under C)


California Advisory Handbook for Community and Military Compatibility Planning (October 2016)
California Jurisdictions Addressing Climate Change Summary (PDF) and (Microsoft Excel) (March 2016)
Climate Summary Graphs (2016)
California Jurisdictions Addressing Climate Change and (Microsoft Excel) (July 2012) 
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has prepared a list of plans and initiatives adopted by California Jurisdictions to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  These plans typically involve setting GHG emission reduction goals and adopting implementation measures to achieve those goals. 
California Planners' Book of Lists (see Annual Planning Survey Results under A)
California Planning Guide: An Introduction to Planning in California (December 2005) 
A layperson's introduction to the mysterious world of planning. The general plan, zoning, land subdivision, and CEQA are among the topics discussed. It also contains a glossary of common planning terms and suggests additional readings in the field.
California's Workforce Development System: How to Prepare the System for Sustainable Development to Meet the Needs of California's Evolving Economy (October 2003)
This White Paper is designed to support the Governor who is required by state law to prepare a comprehensive State Environmental Goals and Policy Report (EGPR). Three planning priorities shape the EGPR's theme, which can be generalized as the "3-E's" of economy, environment, and equity. California's workforce development system profoundly impacts the 3-E's and, accordingly, should be reflected in the EGPR. This White Paper is intended to provide the necessary research and background information to facilitate the development of a workforce development element in the EGPR.
CEQA and Climate Change Technical Advisory (June 2008) 
The emerging role of CEQA in addressing climate change and greenhouse gas emissions was the subject of much discussion and debate in 2008. As part of its continuing service to professional planners, land use officials, and CEQA practitioners, OPR, in collaboration with the California Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, provided this technical advisory containing informal guidance for public agencies as they address the issue of climate change in their CEQA documents. This technical advisory provides OPR's perspective on the issue as applicable in 2008 and precedes the development of draft implementing regulations for CEQA, in accordance with Senate Bill 97 (Chapter 185, Statutes of 2007).
CEQA and Low Impact Development Storm Water Design (August 2009)
This technical advisory is one in a series of advisories provided by OPR as a service to land use officials, professional planners and CEQA practitioners.
  CEQA: The California Environmental Quality Act - Statutes and Guidelines 
CEQA, Public Resources Code section 21000 et seq., and the CEQA Guidelines promulgated by the Secretary of Resources.
CEQA Initial Study Checklist (September, 2016) 
The CEQA Initial Study Checklist can be found at the Association of Environmental Professionals website.
CEQA Notices of Completion, Exemption, Determination and Preparation (see Notices under N)
Circulation and Notice Under the California Environmental Quality Act (July 2001)
This publication outlines the required and suggested notice, consultation and review periods promulgated by CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines.
Climate Adaptation Finance and Investment in California (2018)
This book serves as a guide for local governments and private enterprises as they navigate the unchartered waters of investing in climate change adaptation and resilience. This book serves not only as a resource guide for identifying potential funding sources but also as a roadmap for asset management and public finance processes. It highlights practical synergies between funding mechanisms, as well as the conflicts that may arise between varying interests and strategies. While the main focus of this work is on the State of California, this book offers broader insights for how states, local governments and private enterprises can take those critical first steps in investing in climate adaptation.
Climate Change Document - Updated 01/2014
This matrix and associated materials were developed in coordination with the Climate Action Team (CAT) to reflect significant or updated resources and tools for addressing climate change. The efforts outlined represent State efforts that affect State, local and regional efforts on climate change but do not include department or agency specific plans or education or outreach efforts. Last updated 1-21-2014, status subject to change.
The Conditional Use Permit (August 1997)
A detailed discussion of the legal requirements for conditional use permits, intended to instruct planning staff.


Directory of Planning Agencies (2017)
Directory of Planning Agencies (2016)
Directory of California Planning Agencies (2012)
Element Consolidation: Streamlining Local General Plans (Revised July 1998)
This advisory memo supplements the General Plan Guidelines. It provides additional information on general plan formats that consolidate two or more of the seven statutory elements.
Environmental Justice in California State Government (October 2003)
This report provides a brief history of environmental justice in California policy and statutes; a review of the efforts by OPR to coordinate the activities of other state agencies on environmental justice policy; and a summary of the findings, goals, and policies of other state agencies and departments.
Environmental Justice Survey Results 
Read OPR's survey of regional and local governments, agencies, boards and commissions' adoption of Environmental Justice policies and programs across California.
Environmental Justice: A Review of State Responses - 2001 
In an effort to provide guidance to the California Environmental Justice Workgroup in implementing SB 115, this report from UC Hastings provides a brief overview of the federal environmental justice framework and a more comprehensive look at state environmental justice programs.
Environmental Goals and Policy Report (EGPR) - Draft (November 2003)
The 2003 Draft EGPR provides an overview of state growth and development and articulates state goals and policies related to land use, population growth and distribution, development, conservation of natural resources, transportation, and air and water quality. This 2003 Draft EGPR was completed by OPR as directed by Governor Gray Davis. It was transmitted by OPR to the State Legislature on November 10, 2003, but was never finalized or formally approved, as required by Government Code section 65046.

Environmental Justice Legislation 


Filing of Notices of Determination (NOD) with the State Clearinghouse (August 2000)
The CEQA Guidelines identify the specific circumstances under which Lead Agencies must submit their draft EIRs, proposed Negative Declarations, and NODs to the SCH.
Fire Hazard Planning (May 2015)
This advisory is meant to assist city and county planners in cooperation with fire mitigation, preparedness and response professionals, and Fire Safe Councils, develop sound policies for fire hazard mitigation that can be incorporated into city and county general plans and corresponding planning documents.
Focusing on Master EIRs (Revised November 1997)
An overview of the Master EIR and its relatives, with advice on how to implement this statute. It outlines the process of preparing and utilizing a Master EIR while highlighting the statutory nuances for the CEQA practitioner.
General Plan Guidelines (October 2017)

This is a guide for local planners in preparing general plans and also for other local government officials and community members who may have less familiarity with planning theory, practice and land use law. This advisory guide is the state's only official document interpreting and explaining California's legal requirements for general plans. The newly revised Guidelines present a foundation upon which planning agencies can prepare their general plans to meet state legal requirements.

Previous General Plan Guidelines (October 2003)

General Plan Guidelines, Complete Streets and the Circulation Element (December 2010)
This update to the 2003 General Plan Guidelines provides guidance on how cities and counties can modify the circulation element to plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of the streets, roads, and highways for safe and convenient travel in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan.
General Plan Annual Progress Report Guidance 2016 (April 2016)
Cities and counties must submit an annual report on the status of the General Plan and progress in its implementation to their legislative bodies, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the Department of Housing and Community Development, (Government Code Section 65400(b)(1)). This guidance document outlines what types of information may be included in that report.
Growth Within Bounds (January 2000)
This is the final report of the Commission on Local Governance for the 21st Century, containing the Commission's recommendations on reform of the state laws that govern city, county, and special district boundary changes. The Commission was created by statute in 1997 and its report resulted in the passage of AB 2838 (Chapter 761, Statutes of 2000), the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000, the most significant reform to local government reorganization since the creation of Local Agency Formation Commission.


How to File a NOD and NOE
LAFCOs, General Plans, and City Annexations (February 2012)
This document provides a primer on Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCOs) from a land use planning perspective. The publication addresses the city annexation process, CEQA, and local general plans.
LAFCO Incorporation Guidelines (October 2003) 

(A Guide to the LAFCO Process for Incorporations)

This is volume 1 of the first edition of OPR's advisory guidelines for use by Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCO) in the development of a local process for incorporation of new cities, as required by the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000. The guidelines provide a step-by-step process for LAFCOs and citizens to follow, based on legal requirements and "best practices". Please see volume 2 (below) for appendices.

Please note, this publication is from 2003 and new legislation has been passed relating to LAFCOs. Please check with your LAFCOfor the most up to date information.

LAFCO Incorporation Guidelines - Appendices (October 2003) 

A Guide to the LAFCO Process for Incorporations)

This is volume 2 of the first edition of OPR's advisory guidelines for use by LAFCOs in the development of a local process for incorporation of new cities, as required by the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000. The appendices contain background information, sample forms and notices, and a Primer with basic information on the incorporation process for use by citizens and LAFCO staff.

Please note, this publication is from 2003 and new legislation has been passed relating to LAFCOs.  Please check with your LAFCOfor the most up to date information.

LAFCO Municipal Service Review Guidelines (August 2003) 

This is volume 1 of the first edition of OPR's advisory guidelines for use by LAFCOs in conducting municipal service reviews, as required by the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (Chapter 761, Statutes of 2000). The guidelines provide advice on the process and substance of the municipal service review. Please see volume 2 (below) for appendices.

Please note, this publication is from 2003 and new legislation has been passed relating to LAFCOs.  Please check with your LAFCO for the most up to date information.

LAFCO Municipal Service Review Guidelines Appendices (August 2003)

This is volume 2 of the first edition of OPR's advisory guidelines for use by LAFCOs in conducting municipal service reviews. These appendices provide background information and numerous templates, forms and examples to assist LAFCOs as they develop local processes for municipal service reviews.

Please note, this publication is from 2003 and new legislation has been passed relating to LAFCOs.  Please check with your LAFCO for the most up to date information.

Legislative Bill Summaries

These publications are a compilation of bills that were passed by the Legislature during previous sessions and sent to the Governor’s Office for consideration, and that pertain to local and regional governance. These publications are intended to be comprehensive, but are not exhaustive of all bills that may be relevant to local and regional government.

Location Maps Required for State Agencies' Review (September 2000)
CEQA Guidelines require the submittal of a suitable map along with the NOP for an EIR under Section 15082 (a) (1) (b), and in the Draft EIR itself, under Section 15124 (a).


Mitigated Negative Declarations (December 2004)
This publication discusses the requirements for preparing a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) and its necessary contents according to CEQA. The most recent legislative changes and court decisions are included to illustrate the circumstances under which a MND may be properly used.
Municipal Advisory Councils (June 1977)
New Legislative Requirements for Notices of Preparation (AB 1807) (January 2001)
Effective January 1, 2001, two new requirements were added to CEQA as a result of the passage of AB 1807. Any public agency acting as a "lead agency" under CEQA must provide a copy of all NOPs to OPR.
New Requirements for Document Submittal to the SCH (AB 3041) (January 2003)
This advisory memorandum provides clarification to Lead Agencies regarding the requirements of AB 3041 for submitting CEQA environmental documents to the SCH for state level review.
Notice of Completion (NOC) 
Lead agencies are required to notify OPR as soon as a Draft EIR is complete. If state review is required, the NOC must accompany the required 15 copies of the EIR submitted to OPR. CEQA Guidelines, Section 15085 discusses the requirement.
Notice of Determination (NOD) and Notice of Exemption (NOE), How to File (November 2005)
CEQA requires lead agencies to file a NOD upon approval of a project for which an EIR or Negative Declaration has been prepared. In addition, CEQA describes procedures for filing of a NOE upon approval of a project that is exempt from CEQA review.
Notice of Determination (NOD) 
Lead and responsible agencies are required to notify OPR and/or the county clerk when they make a determination to approve a project subject to CEQA. CEQA Guidelines, Sections 15075 and 15094 outline the content requirements.
Notice of Exemption (NOE) 
CEQA exempts from environmental review certain classes of projects specified in the CEQA statute or Guidelines. This notice informs OPR and/or the county clerk that the lead agency has determined that a project is exempt from CEQA review. CEQA Guidelines, Section 15062 discusses the content requirements.
Notice of Preparation (NOP) 
This notice informs the public of the intent of the lead agency to prepare an EIR. CEQA Guidelines, Section 15082 discusses the required contents.


The Planner's Guide to Specific Plans (January 2001)
This is a guide to the use and function of specific plans in California. It examines the pertinent statutes, suggests guidelines for the preparation and implementation of a plan, and provides examples and references to unique or innovative plans prepared throughout the state. It also discusses pertinent case law, specific plan fees, and the relationships of specific plans to other planning documents such as general plans and zoning ordinances.
The Planning Commissioner's Book (Revised May 1998)
This publication is both a training tool for new planning commissioners as well as a handy general reference on planning. It includes brief overviews of the role of the planning commissioner, the job of the planning commissioner, and state planning law requirements.
Planning, Zoning, and Development Laws, 2012
This is a compilation of California statutes pertaining to city and county planning and zoning activities. Also includes the Subdivision Map Act, the Outdoor Advertising Act, and the Delta Protection Act.
Public Notice and Land Use Planning (April 1998)
An overview of the statutory requirements for public notice, circulation, and review as required under CEQA; the Ralph M. Brown Act; each of the acts comprising the State Planning and Zoning Laws; and other related statutes. It also discusses pertinent case law, Attorney General opinions, and provides useful references to other informative publications and Internet sites.
Putting Action Into the Open Space Element: Techniques for Preserving Open Space and Farmland (Revised November 1997)
According to state law, every local open space plan must have an "action program." An action program identifies specific techniques that a local government intends to pursue in implementing its open space element. This brief publication outlines a variety of possible action program measures. Many have been insufficiently publicized, but most have been used in California. The booklet does not describe zoning or agricultural preserves due to the availability of publications regarding these most commonly used programs.


Senate Bill 244: Land Use, General Plans, and Disadvantaged Communities Technical Advisory (February 2013)
This technical advisory provides guidance on implementing Senate Bill 244 (Wolk, 2011) (SB 244), a new law addressing disadvantaged unincorporated communities. The purpose of SB 244 is to begin to address the complex legal, financial, and political barriers that contribute to regional inequity and infrastructure deficits within disadvantaged unincorporated communities. Including these communities in the long range planning of a city or county, as required by SB 244, will result in a more efficient delivery system of services and infrastructure including but not limited to sewer, water, and structural fire protection.
Summary Form for Document Submittal (September 2011)
15 copies of this document may be included when a Lead Agency submits electronic copies of EIRs, Negative Declarations, Mitigated Negative Declarations, or NOPs to the SCH. The SCH will still accept other summaries, such as an EIR executive summary prepared pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15123, attached to the electronic copies of the document.
Submitting CEQA Documents to the State Clearinghouse (November 2005)
This technical advisory offers information about the procedural requirements of CEQA. Included is a brief summary of the circumstances under which CEQA documents must be submitted to the SCH as well as information on identifying and working with Responsible and Trustee Agencies.
Shortened Review Request Form (2006)
Public Resources Code Section 21091 allows for shortened review periods under certain circumstances. Additional information on the shortened review process and requirements is provided in the SCH Handbook. A Shortened Review Request form is available to ensure that the requesting agency provides all the information necessary for the SCH to make a determination. However, use of this specific form is not a requirement of CEQA.
State Clearinghouse Handbook (Revised June 2012)
A technical guide for lead and responsible agencies, project proponents, and the public on SCH procedures for reviewing environmental documents.
Strategies for Sustainable Communities: A Guidebook based on California Community Types (December 2010) 
This document provides strategies, progress indicators, and resources for planners and decision-makers organized around ten defined community types that reflect the diversity of California communities and the challenges they face in their efforts to maintain quality of life for their residents and long-term sustainability.
Summary of Postings 
This bimonthly report provides a listing of all the environmental documents, federal notices, and federal grant applications that have been submitted to the SCH.


Technical Advisory: AB 52 and Tribal Cultural Resources in CEQA
Tribal Consultation Guidelines (November 2005) 

A Supplement to the OPR General Plan Guidelines

These are state guidelines to assist cities and counties in fulfilling their obligations under state planning law to consult with California Native American Indian tribes before adopting or amending the local general plan and specific plans. The consultation requirements, and the requirement for OPR to prepare these guidelines, are a result of the passage of Senate Bill 18 (Chapter 905, Statutes of 2004).

An Urban Strategy for California(February 1978)
The Urban Strategy was adopted by Governor Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown as the State's environmental goals and policy report. It directed state government actions toward revitalization of existing cities, the sound management of new urban development, and the protection of the state's natural environment. The environmental goals and policy report is required by statute to articulate the state's policies on growth, development, and environmental quality and to serve as the basis for preparation of state functional plans (Government Code Sections 65041 through 65049).
The Variance (July 1997)
A detailed discussion of the legal requirements for variances, intended to instruct planning staff.
Workforce Development System (see California Workforce under C) 
ZEV Action Plan (Feb 2013)
In March 2012, Governor Brown issued an executive order directing state government to help accelerate the market for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in California. This 2013 ZEV Action Plan identifies specific strategies and actions that state agencies will take to meet milestones of the executive order.