How is a Lead Agency Determined Where More Than One Public Agency is Involved?
What is a Lead Agency?
How does that compare to a Responsible Agency?
How do I determine which agency is the Lead Agency when more than one public agency is involved?
What if the public agencies can't agree on which one should be the Lead Agency?


What is a Lead Agency?

When more than one public agency is involved, a "Lead Agency" is the public agency that has the primary responsibility for approving a project that may have a significant impact upon the environment.

How does that compare to a Responsible Agency?

A "Responsible Agency" is any public agency, other than the lead agency, which has the responsibility for approving the project where more than one public agency is involved.

How do I determine which agency is the Lead Agency when more than one public agency are involved?

Normally, the Lead Agency is the agency with general governmental powers such as a city or a county. Agencies with limited powers or districts that provide a public service/utility such as a recreation and park district will tend to be a Responsible Agency. More guidance on selecting the lead agency is found in Guidelines §15051

What if the public agencies can't agree on which one should be Lead Agency?

If there is a dispute over which of several agencies should be the Lead Agency for a project, the disputing agencies should consult with each other in an effort to resolve the dispute prior to submitting it to OPR. If an agreement cannot be reached, any public agency, or the applicant if a private project is involved, may submit the dispute to OPR for resolution. (Guidelines §15053)

STATUTORY REFERENCES
Lead Agency Defined | Public Resources Code §21067
Responsible Agency Defined | Public Resources Code §21069
GUIDELINE REFERENCES
Designation of Lead Agency by OPR | California Code of Regulations §§15050 - 15053

SELECTED COURT CASES

Friends of Cuyamaca Valley v. Lake Cuyamaca Recreation Park District (1994) 28 Cal.App.4th 419