Lead Agency Makes
Findings on Feasibility of Reducing or Avoiding Significant Environmental
Effects

When is a Lead Agency Required to Make Findings?

  • Where an EIR indentifies one or more significant envrionmental effects, the lead agency must make findings on each effect.

What Standard Must a Lead Agency Follow in Making its Findings?

  • Lead Agency must make one or more of three findings pursuant to §15091(a).
    • (1)Changes have been incorporated in the project to avoid or substantially lessen the identified significant environmental effect.
    • (2)The changes are within the jurisdiction of another agency and the changes have been or should be adopted by that other agency.
    • (3)Specific considerations which make infeasible the alternatives identified in the final EIR.
  • Support finding by substantial evidence in the record.
  • Agency must present an explanation of the rational of each finding.
  • Preparation of a statement of overriding considerations does not substitute for this findings requirement.

May Findings be Limited to Conclusory Statements?

  • Findings should supply a logical step between the ultimate finding and the facts in the record.
  • When alternatives and/or mitigation measures are rejected as infeasible, findings must reveal the agency's reasons for reaching such a conclusion. Conclusory statements alone will not suffice.

What Type of "Substantial Evidence" is Necessary to Support Findings of Infeasibility?

  • According to Public Resources Code §21082.2(c) substantial evidence includes facts, reasonable assumptions predicated upon facts, and expert opinion supported by facts.
  • Substantial evidence must be specific and concrete to show that additional costs or lost profitibility are sufficiently severe as to render proceeding with the project impractical under any of the alternatives.

How Are Significant Environmental Effects Reduced or Avoided?

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SELECTED STATUTORY REFERENCES

Purpose of Alternatives | Public Resources Code §21002
Use of EIRs | Public Resources Code §21002.1
Findings Requirements | Public Resources Code §21081
Substantial Evidence | Public Resources Code §21082.2

SELECTED GUIDELINES REFERENCES

Findings Requirements | 14 California Code of Regulations §15091
Definition of Lead Agency | 14 Cal ifornia Code of Regulations §15367

SELECTED CASES

Citizens of Goleta Valley v. Board of Supervisors (Goleta I) (1988) 197 Cal.App.3d 1167

Resources Defense Fund v. Local Agency Formation Commission of Santa Cruz County (1987) 199 Cal.App.3d 886

Orinda Association v. Board of Supervisors (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 1145

Village Laguna of Laguna Beach, Inc. v. Board of Supervisors (1982) 134 Cal.App.3d 1022

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