ABOUT HABITAT ASSESSMENT & NEGOTIATION STRATEGY (HANS)
The HANS process is used by the County of Riverside to implement portions of the MSHCP by identifying and delineating conservation areas on specific properties. At the request of the property owner, property which is within the Criteria Area shall be subject to review in order to determine whether all or part of the property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area.
An EPD biologist reviews the application and performs the HANS analysis. EPD checks for criteria consistency and may request additional biological information.
When it is determined that all or part of the property is needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area or subjected to MSHCP Conservation Criteria, then the parties may enter into negotiations on the terms under which the property or any part thereof will be acquired. If it is determined that all or a portion of the property is not needed for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, any subsequent development application covering the property released shall not be required to comply with the MSHCP Conservation Criteria.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HANS
What is HANS?
HANS is an acronym for the property owner initiated Habitat Evaluation and Acquisition Negotiation Strategy. The HANS process is used by the County of Riverside to implement portions of the MSHCP by identifying and delineating conservation areas on specific properties.
Who must apply?
Anyone applying for a discretionary permit for property located in a Criteria Area/Criteria Cell(s) must fill out a HANS application. A Criteria Cell is land (approximately 160 acres) that has been identified as an area where conservation potentially needs to occur.
Who reviews the application?
County staff in the Environmental Programs Division (EPD) reviews the application and performs the HANS analysis. EPD checks for criteria consistency and may request additional biological information.
How long does HANS I take?
Once the HANS application is deemed complete (having all requested information, signatures, etc.), the County will issue a HANS Criteria Determination Letter within 45 days. This letter will indicate whether the MSHCP describes conservation for the subject property and will identify other relevant MSHCP compliance provisions. This part of the process is referred to as HANS I.
What if I don't agree with the County's determination?
You may request a HANS I Extended meeting, at which time you agree to waive the 45-day HANS I review period and present additional biological documentation to EPD staff. When agreement is reached, your project will have completed HANS I, and may be forwarded to the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (RCA), (951) 955-9700, for Joint Project Review (JPR). Other MSHCP requirements may need to be met prior to transmittal to the RCA.
HANS projects must clear JPR before being scheduled for public hearing.
What if conservation is not described?
If the MSHCP does not describe conservation for the subject property, the County will issue a HANS Criteria Determination Letter indicating that no conservation is described, and your project may be forwarded by County EPD staff to the RCA for Joint Project Review (JPR). Other MSHCP requirements may need to be met prior to transmittal to the RCA.
What is Joint Project Review (JPR)?
All completed HANS I cases are sent to the RCA for review. The RCA reviews the County's HANS determinations to ensure compliance with MSHCP Criteria and other MSHCP requirements. Therefore, all necessary biological surveys and assessments must be submitted before the RCA will commence its review.
The RCA will issue comments within 14 days of receiving a HANS JPR file.
When does HANS II take place?
When HANS I is completed and property is described for inclusion in the MSHCP Conservation Area, then the County and the project applicant may enter into negotiations of terms and incentives to provide compensation. This negotiation period is 120 days and may be extended upon mutual consent. (JPR may proceed concurrently with the HANS II process.)
Terms and incentives may include: waiver and/or reduction of development fees; monetary compensation; fast track processing; density bonuses, etc.
HANS PROCESS AT A GLANCE
- Criteria Consistency Determined (Within 45 days of receipt of completed application)
HANS I Extended (optional)
- Criteria Consistency Review Based on biological documentation
(14-day RCA review & comment/10-day Wildlife Agency review & comment)
- Criteria Consistency, plus
- Other MSHCP Requirements:
HANS II (120 days)
- Negotiation of Terms and Incentives (if conservation is described)