Glossary of Terms


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Affected Local Agency

local agency which contains, or would contain, or whose sphere of influence contains, any territory within any proposal or study to be reviewed by the commission (§56014).

Agricultural Lands

Land currently used for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity for commercial purposes, land left fallow under a crop rotational program, or land enrolled in an agricultural subsidy or set-aside program (§56016).

Agricultural Preserve

An area devoted to either agricultural, recreational, or open space and compatible uses as defined in the Williamson Act, and established and made subject to a land conservation contract by resolution of a city or county after a public hearing (§51201(d)).


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Certificate of Filing (COF)

The document that affirms that an application is deemed complete and filed. Required timelines for processing and hearing the proposal begin upon issuance of the COF (§56658).

Certificate of Completion

The document that confirms the final resolution of a successful change of organization or reorganization (§56020.5).

Certificate of Termination of Proceedings

The document that confirms the final resolution of an unsuccessful change of organization or reorganization (§56020.7)

Conducting Authority

LAFCo of the principal county of the entity proposing a change of organization or reorganization unless another conducting authority is specified by law (§56029).

Cost Avoidance

Actions to eliminate unnecessary costs derived from, but not limited to, duplication of service efforts, higher than necessary administration/operation cost ratios, use of outdated or deteriorating infrastructure and equipment, underutilized equipment or buildings or facilities, overlapping/inefficient service boundaries, inefficient purchasing or budgeting practices, and lack of economies of scale.


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Deemed Filed

A term referring to the time at which an application is determined by the Executive Officer to include all required elements, including fees and completed CEQA documentation, is accepted as complete, and begins to be subject to processing time lines contained in the CKH Act and CEQA.

De Minimis Project

The term refers to projects, which include requests for minor administrative or corrective actions. Projects are found “De Minimis” for application processing and fee collection purposes if staff determines that the project (a) is consistent with §56668, §56683, and §56668.5, factors to be considered, and LAFCo policies and procedures; (b) will not cause significant adverse impacts upon any agency or individual; (c) does not involve any new extension of service; (d) is proceeding with
the consent of all affected landowners; and (e) is defined as ministerial under, or
qualifies for an Exemption from, the requirements of CEQA.

Direct Costs

Those costs incurred as an immediate result of an action or a proposal
before LAFCo.


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Infrastructure Needs and Deficiencies

The term, “infrastructure” is defined as public services and facilities, such as sewage-disposal systems, water-supply systems, other utility systems, and roads (General Plan Guidelines). Any area needing or planned for service must have the infrastructure necessary to support the provision of those services. The term, “infrastructure needs and deficiencies,” refer to the status of existing and planned infrastructure and its relationship to the quality and levels of service that can or need to be provided.

Inhabited Territory

Territory within which there reside 12 or more registered voters


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Landowner/Owner of Land

(1) Any person shown as the owner of land on the most recent assessment roll being prepared by the county at the time the proponent (was
commission) adopts a resolution of application except where that person is no longer the owner. Where that person is no longer the owner, the landowner or owner of the land is any person entitled to be shown as owner of the land on the next assessment roll. (2) Where land is subject to a recorded written agreement of sale, any person shown in agreement as purchaser. (3) Any public agency owning the land.

Lead Agency

The public agency, which has the principal responsibility for carrying out or
approving a project. The Lead Agency determines what type of CEQA documentation or process is required. Criteria for determining which agency will be the Lead Agency for a project are contained in PRC §15051 (PRC §15367).

Limited Service Sphere of Influence

Territory included within the boundaries of a limited purpose district that LAFCo has included within the SOI of a multi-service district

Local Accountability and Governance

The term, “local accountability and governance,” refers to public agency decision making, operational and management styles that include an accessible staff, elected or appointed decision-making body and decision making process, advertisement of, and public participation in, elections, publicly disclosed budgets, programs, and plans, solicited public participation in the consideration of work and infrastructure plans; and regularly evaluated or measured outcomes of plans, programs or operations and disclosure of results to the public.


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Management Efficiency

The term, “management efficiency,” refers to the organized
provision of the highest quality public services with the lowest necessary expenditure of public funds. An efficiently managed entity (1) promotes and demonstrates implementation of continuous improvement plans and strategies for budgeting, managing costs, training and utilizing personnel, and customer service and involvement, (2) has the ability to provide service over the short and long term, (3) has the resources (fiscal, manpower, equipment, adopted service or work plans) to provide adequate service, (4) meets or exceeds environmental and industry service standards, as feasible considering local conditions or circumstances, (5) and maintains adequate contingency

Municipal Services

full range of services that a public agency provides, or is
authorized to provide, except general county government functions such as courts,
special services and tax collection. Municipal service reviews are triggered by
requirements to create or update SOIs for public agencies. Therefore, a LAFCo will
review services that are provided by public agencies that have, or are required to have, SOIs with review and consideration of the operations of other providers that service the same region.


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Open Space

Any parcel or area of land or water, which is substantially unimproved and
devoted to an open-space use, as defined in §65560 (§56059).


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An application provided to LAFCo for initial review purposes but not yet
deemed filed.

Prime Agricultural Land

Land, whether a single parcel or contiguous parcels that has not
been developed for a use other than an agricultural use and that meets any of the
following qualifications:

  • Qualifies that qualifies, if irrigated, for rating as class I or class II in the USDA
    Natural Resources Conservation Service land use capability classification, whether or not the land is actually irrigated, provided that irrigation is feasible.
  • Land that qualifies for rating 80 through 100 Storie Index Rating.
  • Land that supports livestock used for the production of food and fiber and that has an annual carrying capacity equivalent to at least one animal unit per acre as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture in the National Handbook on Range and Related Grazing Lands, July, 1967, developed pursuant to Public Law 46, December 1935
  • Land planted with fruit or nut-bearing trees, vines, bushes, or crops that have a
    non-bearing period of less than five years and that will return during the commercial bearing period on an annual basis from the production of unprocessed agricultural plant production not less than two hundred dollars ($400) per acre.
  • Land that has returned from the production of unprocessed agricultural plant
    products an annual gross value of not less than four hundred dollars ($400) per
    acre for three of the previous five years.
  • Land that is used to maintain livestock for commercial purposes (§56064).

Principal County

The county having all or the greater portion of the entire assessed
value, as shown on the last equalized assessment roll of the county or counties, of all
taxable property within a district or districts for which a change of organization or
reorganization is proposed (§56066).

Principal LAFCo

The LAFCo in a principal county that has jurisdiction on a proposal that crosses county boundaries. If any proposal involves a special district which is, or as a result of a proposed change would be located in more than one county, exclusive jurisdiction for that proposal over the matters authorized may be vested in the Commission of a county in which territory of the district is located or is proposed to be located if all of the following occur: 1) the Commission of the principal county agrees to having the exclusive jurisdiction vested in the Commission of another county; 2) the Commission of the principal county designates the Commission of another county which shall assume exclusive jurisdiction; and 3) the Commission of the county so designated agrees to assume exclusive jurisdiction (§56388).

Project Proponent/Applicant

The person or persons who file a notice of intention to circulate a petition (§56068, §56700.4, §56654), or the local agency that adopts the Resolution of Application.


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Rate Restructuring

Rate restructuring does not refer to the setting or development of specific rates or rate structures. During a service review, LAFCo may compile and
review certain rate related data, and other information that may affect rates, as that data applies to the intent of the CKH Act (§56000, §56001, §56301), factors to be considered(§56668, §56668.3), SOI determinations (§56425) and all required service review determinations (§56430). The objective is to identify opportunities to positively impact rates without adversely affecting service quality or other factors to be considered.

Responsible Agency

A public agency which proposes to carry out or approve a project for which a Lead Agency is preparing or has prepared an Environmental Impact Report of Negative Declaration. For the purpose of CEQA, the term refers to any public agency other than the Lead Agency, which has discretionary authority over a project (PRC15081).


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Service Unit

A measure used to calculate the exact service status, or capacity to
provide services, of a service provider such as number of households, parcels, meters, equivalent dwelling units, or residential, commercial, agricultural or industrial units that are, can, will be or are proposed to be served

Substantial SOI Amendment

An amendment to an SOI which causes the SOI to be internally inconsistent, is inconsistent with provisions of the CKH Act, has the potential to cause significant adverse social, economic, environmental or other consequences, or has substantial adverse regional planning implications. A substantial amendment to an SOI prior to a service review is inconsistent with §56430.


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Urban Areas or Lands

Lands within an incorporated city, and those lands in community regions which are developed, or planned for development within the next ten years, for industrial, commercial, medium density residential or more intensive uses.

Urban Service Area

Developed, undeveloped, or agricultural land either incorporated or
unincorporated, within the sphere of influence of a city, which is served by urban facilities, utilities, and services or which are proposed to be served by urban facilities, utilities, and services during the first five years of an adopted capital improvement program of the city if the city adopts that type of program for those facilities, utilities, and service. The boundary around an urban area shall be called the ‘urban service area boundary’ and shall be developed in cooperation with a city and adopted by a commission pursuant to policies adopted by the commission In accordance with §56300, § 56301, § 56425 (§56080)