Directions For Using VIA Annotated Outlines
The VIA Annotated Outlines are designed to be instructional and self-guiding; however, users will benefit from reading these directions.
Using VIA Annotated Outlines will help to ensure that Caltrans complies with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements for determining potential visual impacts on transportation projects. Their use will also assist Caltrans, its partners and stakeholders to ensure that visual analyses are thorough, concise, objective, defensible, and consistent with statewide practices. The annotated outlines are based on the FHWA Visual Impact Assessment for Highway Projects guidance and methodology, and are designed to support and clearly communicate the key findings of the visual analysis.
Three VIA Annotated Outlines have been developed to accommodate different levels of project complexity, controversy, and potential impacts: Minor, Moderate, and Advanced/Complex. Modifications to the outlines may be made if changes are needed to address unique project characteristics. Modifications include making non-standard edits or providing additional information, but omitting steps in the FHWA methodology is not allowed. It is anticipated that a high level of customization of the Advanced/Complex outline could be necessary to accommodate these types of projects.
Each annotated outline contains three types of text:
- Black text is boilerplate and should be used in the document, but may be edited if necessary for the project.
- Blue text consists of instructions, guidance, or sample text that should be replaced with project specific information, or deleted from the final document as appropriate.
- Red text indicates the option to select the correct word or phrase for completing a sentence.
VIA Annotated Outlines
Select the appropriate VIA Annotated Outline below that corresponds to your VIA Questionnaire score.
Calculate VIA Level Score
Select An Outline Based Upon Project Score
The total score will indicate the recommended VIA level for the project. In addition to considering circumstances relating to any one of the ten questions-areas that would justify elevating the VIA level, also consider any other project factors that would have an effect on level selection.
No noticeable visual changes to the environment are proposed and no further analysis is required. Print out a copy of this completed questionnaire for your project file or Preliminary Environmental Study (PES).
Negligible visual changes to the environment are proposed. A brief Memorandum(see sample)addressing visual issues providing a rationale why a technical study is not required.
Noticeable visual changes to the environment are proposed. An abbreviated VIA is appropriate in this case. The assessment would briefly describe project features, impacts and any avoidance and minimization measures. Visual simulations would be optional. Go to the Directions for using and accessing the Minor VIA Annotated Outline.
Noticeable visual changes to the environment are proposed. A fully developed VIA is appropriate. This technical study will likely receive public review.Go to the Directions for using and accessing the Moderate VIA Annotated Outline.
Noticeable visual changes to the environment are proposed. A fully developed VIA is appropriate that includes photo simulations. It is appropriate to alert the Project Development Team to the potential for highly adverse impacts and to consider project alternatives to avoid those impacts.Go to the Directions for using and accessing the Advanced/Complex VIA Annotated Outline.