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What is LAFCo?

LAFCO is an acronym for Local Agency Formation Commission. It is a regulatory agency with county-wide jurisdiction, established by state law (the Cortese-Knox Act) to coordinate logical and timely changes in local government boundaries, and to insure that services are provided efficiently while agricultural lands are protected.

What does LAFCO do?

LAFCO is responsible for: reviewing and approving proposed jurisdictional boundary changes, including annexations and detachments of territory to and/or from cities and special districts; incorporations of new cities; formations of new special districts; and consolidations, mergers, and dissolutions of existing districts. In addition, LAFCO must: review and approve Out-of-Agency service agreements; determine spheres of influence for each city and district; and may initiate proposals involving district consolidation, dissolution, establishment of subsidiary districts, mergers, and reorganizations (combinations of these jurisdictional changes).

Who are the members of LAFCO?

The Commission consists of five regular members as specified by State law. Two members are from the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. There are two city members, who are selected by the City Selection Committee to represent the seven cities in the County. The fifth Commissioner is a public member who is selected by the two County and two City members. There are three alternate members, one each from the County, City and Public membership categories.

How long will it take to process my proposal?

Proposals which are considered routine and non-controversial can be processed within 60-days after a complete set of application materials have been submitted to the LAFCO office. More complex proposals take additional time to process.

Is the public notified about LAFCO actions?

State law requires that LAFCO notify affected agencies and the public regarding jurisdictional boundary change proposals. Notification of a pending proposal is made to affected County departments, interested individuals, and local governmental agencies. Landowners owning land within the proposed annexation site and registered voters living within the proposed territory and within 300 feet of the annexation site are provided a Notice of Public Hearing. Proposals are then considered by the Commission at a public hearing during a regular LAFCO meeting.

Does LAFCO charge a fee to process jurisdictional boundary change proposals?

State law authorizes LAFCO to charge the estimated reasonable cost to process jurisdictional boundary change proposals. Processing fees vary depending on the type of proposal (i.e., district formation, merger, reorganization, etc.). Annexation and detachment fees are also based on acreage. Please contact the LAFCO office at 209-468-3198 for fee calculation information.

What is a sphere of influence?

A sphere of influence is a planning tool adopted and used by LAFCO to designate the future boundary and service area for a city or special district. Spheres can be amended and updated from time to time.

Is LAFCO required to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)?

Yes, LAFCO must comply with CEQA when considering boundary change proposals.