A State-Mandated Public Agency Established to Regulate the Boundaries of Cities & Special Districts

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is LAFCO?

The Local Agency Formation Commission of Monterey County is an independent countywide body created by the State Legislature. The Commission makes decisions about the boundaries and services of cities and special districts. Statutory purposes are to encourage the orderly formation and development of local governments; preserve agricultural and open space lands; discourage urban sprawl, and ensure the efficient delivery of government services.

2. What does LAFCO do?

As a regulatory agency, the Commission forms new cities and special districts, approves changes in boundaries (annexations, consolidations, mergers, dissolutions, etc.), and allows cities or special districts to provide services outside their boundaries. As a planning agency, LAFCO determines and updates the Spheres of Influence of each city and district, conducts studies of the public services provided by local agencies, and may initiate proposals to change boundaries based upon the Spheres of Influence or special studies. LAFCO implements the Local Government Reorganization Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, open meeting laws, the Revenue and Taxation Code, and local policies and procedures.

The Commission is composed of two Members of the County Board of Supervisors, two City Council Members, two Independent Special District Members, and one voting Public Member (the current vacancy). Alternate members are also selected for each membership category. Public Members are selected by County, City and Special District Members. All seats have four-year terms. Established in 1963, the Commission is served by an Executive Officer and staff, and is funded by local governments.

3.Who are the members of LAFCO?

The LAFCO of Monterey County is composed of seven regular Commissioners: two members from the Board of Supervisors; two representatives from the cities within Monterey County; one public member; and two Independent Special District Members. There are four alternate Commissioners, which reflect the above membership categories.

4. When and where does the Commission meet?

Regular LAFCO meetings are generally scheduled for 4:00 pm, on the fourth Monday of each month, in the Monterey County Government Center, 168 W. Alisal St. 1st Floor, in Salinas.

5. How long will it take to process my proposal?

If your proposal is considered routine and is non-controversial, processing time is approximately 3 to 4 months after a complete set of application materials have been submitted to the LAFCO office. More complex proposals may take additional time to process.

6. 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 County departments, interested individuals, and local governmental agencies potentially affected by a LAFCO proposal. LAFCO must also inform the County Surveyor, Assessor, and Auditor before a proposal is scheduled for a public hearing.

7. 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 see the "Application and Fees" button.

8. 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.

9. Can a sphere of influence be changed?

Yes. LAFCO may amend and update spheres of influence.

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

Yes. LAFCO must comply with CEQA.