Step One: Lead Agency Determination

The first step in the CEQA process for a RMDZ project is to determine who will act as the Lead Agency for the CEQA process. Typically, this will be the local government within which the Zone is (or will be) located. If the Zone consists of multiple jurisdictions, the participants must select one jurisdiction to carry out the duties as the Lead Agency.

  • Participating Jurisdictions–Each participating jurisdiction must pass a resolution agreeing to participate in the RMDZ CEQA project. The participating jurisdictions become Responsible Agencies (defined in CEQA), since they will make discretionary decisions as well.
  • Lead Agency–The Lead Agency then passes a second resolution identifying itself as the lead and listing all the involved jurisdictions.
  • Renewal–Here is a sample resolution for renewing an RMDZ.

Once the Lead Agency is identified, all other involved agencies, whether state or local, become either Responsible or Trustee Agencies. Responsible and Trustee Agencies must consider the environmental document prepared by the Lead Agency and do not, except in rare instances, prepare their own environmental documents. (Please refer to the CEQA Definitions for the descriptions of agencies).

Responsible Agencies

Most of the discussion above has focused on the Lead Agency, as it is the public agency having responsibility for preparing and circulating the environmental document. Other public agencies that have a discretionary decision to make with regard to the project must also comply with CEQA. These agencies are called “Responsible Agencies” under CEQA. Examples include the other local governments participating in an RMDZ CEQA project, but who are not designated as the Lead Agency.

Responsible Agencies must use the environmental document prepared by the Lead Agency, and must consider the environmental effects of the project as described in the Negative Declaration or EIR, impose mitigation measures within its authority, if necessary, and file their own Notice of Determination. (See Guidelines Section 15096 for more detail on the duties of Responsible Agencies.)

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