To Encourage The Orderly Formation Of Local Governmental Agencies

LAFCOs review proposals for the formation of new local governmental agencies and changes of organization in existing agencies. In California, there are 58 LAFCOs working with nearly 4,000 governmental agencies in 58 counties, approximately 500 cities, and over 3,000 special districts. Agency boundaries are often unrelated to one another and sometimes overlap at random. This overlapping often leads to higher service costs to the taxpayer and general confusion regarding service area boundaries. LAFCOs’ decisions strive to balance the competing needs in California for affordable housing, economic opportunity and conservation of natural resources.

To Preserve Agricultural Land Resources

LAFCOs must consider the effect that any proposal will produce on existing agricultural lands. By guiding development toward vacant urban land and away from agricultural preserves, LAFCOs assist with the preservation of our valuable agricultural resources.

To Discourage Urban Sprawl

Urban sprawl can best be described as irregular and disorganized growth occurring without apparent design or plan. This pattern of development is characterized by the inefficient delivery of urban services (police, fire, water and sanitation) and the unnecessary loss of agricultural land. By discouraging sprawl, LAFCOs limit the misuse of land resources and promotes a more efficient system of local government.

LAFCO'S Responsibilities

LAFCOs are responsible for coordinating logical and timely changes in local governmental boundaries, conducting special studies that review ways to reorganize, simplify and streamline governmental structure and preparing a Sphere of Influence for each city and special district within each county. The Commission’s efforts are directed to seeing that services are provided efficiently and economically while agricultural and open-space lands are protected.