California Public Resources Code § 21083.2
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(a) [Determination of significant effect on archaeological resources; EIR and negative declarations] As part of the determination made pursuant to Section 21080.1, the lead agency shall determine whether the project may have a significant effect on archaeological resources. If the lead agency determines that the project may have a significant effect on unique archaeological resources, the environmental impact report shall address the issue of those resources. An environmental impact report, if otherwise necessary, shall not address the issue of nonunique archaeological resources. A negative declaration shall be issued with respect to a project if, but for the issue of nonunique archaeological resources, the negative declaration would be otherwise issued.
(b) [Preservation or nondisturbance requirements] If it can be demonstrated that a project will cause damage to a unique archaeological resource, the lead agency may require reasonable efforts to be made to permit any or all of these resources to be preserved in place or left in an undisturbed state. Examples of that treatment, in no order of preference, may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
(1) Planning construction to avoid archaeological sites.
(2) Deeding archaeological sites into permanent conservation easements.
(3) Capping or covering archaeological sites with a layer of soil before building on the sites.
(4) Planning parks, greenspace, or other open space to incorporate archaeological sites.
(c) [Mitigation measures] To the extent that unique archaeological resources are not preserved in place or not left in an undisturbed state, mitigation measures shall be required as provided in this subdivision. The project applicant shall provide a guarantee to the lead agency to pay one-half the estimated cost of mitigating the significant effects of the project on unique archaeological resources. In determining payment, the lead agency shall give due consideration to the in-kind value of project design or expenditures that are intended to permit any or all archaeological resources or California Native American culturally significant sites to be preserved in place or left in an undisturbed state. When a final decision is made to carry out or approve the project, the lead agency shall, if necessary, reduce the specified mitigation measures to those which can be funded with the money guaranteed by the project applicant plus the money voluntarily guaranteed by any other person or persons for those mitigation purposes. In order to allow time for interested persons to provide the funding guarantee referred to in this subdivision, a final decision to carry out or approve a project shall not occur sooner than 60 days after completion of the recommended special environmental impact report required by this section.
(d) [Excavation as mitigation] Excavation as mitigation shall be restricted to those parts of the unique archaeological resource that would be damaged or destroyed by the project. Excavation as mitigation shall not be required for a unique archaeological resource if the lead agency determines that testing or studies already completed have adequately recovered the scientifically consequential information from and about the resource, if this determination is documented in the environmental impact report.
(e) [Amount paid for mitigation measures] In no event shall the amount paid by a project applicant for mitigation measures required pursuant to subdivision (c) exceed the following amounts:
(1) An amount equal to one-half of 1 percent of the projected cost of the project for mitigation measures undertaken within the site boundaries of a commercial or industrial project.
(2) An amount equal to three-fourths of 1 percent of the projected cost of the project for mitigation measures undertaken within the site boundaries of a housing project consisting of a single unit.
(3) If a housing project consists of more than a single unit, an amount equal to three-fourths of 1 percent of the projected cost of the project for mitigation measures undertaken within the site boundaries of the project for the first unit plus the sum of the following:
(A) Two hundred dollars ($200) per unit for any of the next 99 units.
(B) One hundred fifty dollars ($150) per unit for any of the next 400 units.
(C) One hundred dollars ($100) per unit in excess of 500 units.
(f) [Field excavation phase of mitigation plan] Unless special or unusual circumstances warrant an exception, the field excavation phase of an approved mitigation plan shall be completed within 90 days after final approval necessary to implement the physical development of the project or, if a phased project, in connection with the phased portion to which the specific mitigation measures are applicable. However, the project applicant may extend that period if he or she so elects. Nothing in this section shall nullify protections for Indian cemeteries under any other provision of law.
(g) [Unique archaeological resource; definition] As used in this section, “unique archaeological resource” means an archaeological artifact, object, or site about which it can be clearly demonstrated that, without merely adding to the current body of knowledge, there is a high probability that it meets any of the following criteria:
(1) Contains information needed to answer important scientific research questions and that there is a demonstrable public interest in that information.
(2) Has a special and particular quality such as being the oldest of its type or the best available example of its type.
(3) Is directly associated with a scientifically recognized important prehistoric or historic event or person.
(h) [Nonunique archaeological resource; definition] As used in this section, “nonunique archaeological resource” means an archaeological artifact, object, or site which does not meet the criteria in subdivision (g). A nonunique archaeological resource need be given no further consideration, other than the simple recording of its existence by the lead agency if it so elects.
(i) [Accidental discoveries of archaeological sites; provisions by lead agency] As part of the objectives, criteria, and procedures required by Section 21082 or as part of conditions imposed for mitigation, a lead agency may make provisions for archaeological sites accidentally discovered during construction. These provisions may include an immediate evaluation of the find. If the find is determined to be a unique archaeological resource, contingency funding and a time allotment sufficient to allow recovering an archaeological sample or to employ one of the avoidance measures may be required under the provisions set forth in this section. Construction work may continue on other parts of the building site while archaeological mitigation takes place.
(j) [Application to specified projects] This section does not apply to any project described in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 21065 if the lead agency elects to comply with all other applicable provisions of this division. This section does not apply to any project described in subdivision (c) of Section 21065 if the applicant and the lead agency jointly elect to comply with all other applicable provisions of this division.
(k) [Additional costs to local agencies] Any additional costs to any local agency as a result of complying with this section with respect to a project of other than a public agency shall be borne by the project applicant.
(l) [Application of section] Nothing in this section is intended to affect or modify the requirements of Section 21084 or 21084.1.
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