Reasons for Exemption
The Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) has proposed to enter into an agreement (Annexation Agreement) with the City of San Juan Capistrano (City) to transfer the Utilities System1 of the City to the SMWD. The proposed transfer would require an annexation of the existing service area (defined as the geographical area served by the Water System or the Wastewater System, as applicable, as shown in Figure 1) of the City to SMWD, an amendment of the sphere of influences of the SMWD with respect to the provision of water and sewer services, and the development and implementation of a plan of service for the SMWD to continue to operate the Utilities System in a manner generally consistent with existing practices. These actions, collectively referred to as the Annexation (project), are subject to the review and approval of, and may be subject to conditions of approval set forth by, the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (OCLAFCO). The proposed Annexation is primarily an administrative action that does not require upgrades or new infrastructure. Any future improvements or modifications to the Utilities System
carried out by the SMWD, such as improvements identified in a City Capital Improvement Plan or projects of a similar nature, would be subject to additional environmental review, as applicable. While the OCLAFCO has discretionary approval over the proposed Annexation, SMWD is the Lead Agency for the purposes of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (California Public Resources Code, Section 21000 et seq.), pursuant to Section 15051(a) and Section 15051(d) of the CEQA Guidelines (14 CCR 15000 et seq.). Implementation of the Annexation would allow the City to transfer the Utility System to a neigh boring special district (SMWD) whose sole focus is the provision of water and wastewater services, thereby improving the reliability and efficiency of the Utility System and lowering costs for City ratepayers.
See NOE Attachment A for Full Details.