Meeting Date:                  May 5, 2021Agenda No.                      Item 4.1Agenda Item Title:           Protest Proceeding: File No. 2021-01: Sonoma County Fire Protection District Reorganization No. 2021-01 (Forestville Fire Protection District)

Meeting Date: May 5, 2021
Agenda No.: Item 4.1
Agenda Item Title:

Protest Proceeding: File No. 2021-01: Sonoma County Fire Protection District Reorganization No. 2021-01 (Forestville Fire Protection District) Involving Dissolution of the Forestville Fire Protection District and Annexation of the Territory to the Sonoma County Fire Protection District.

Applicant(s):

Sonoma County Fire Protection District

Location:Request for a reorganization consisting of annexation of four parcels, totaling approximately 31 acres to the City of Cloverdale and detachment from County Service Area No. 41 (Multi-Services)
Environmental Determination: Exemptions pursuant to Sections 15320 and 15061(b)(3) of the State CEQA Guidelines
Staff Contacts: Mark Bramfitt

Analysis

Background

At its February 2021 meeting, the Commission approved a proposal for a reorganization of the Sonoma County Fire Protection District involving annexation of territory served by the Forestville Fire Protection District and set a protest period that concludes on May 5, 2021.

Staff requests that the Commission conduct a public hearing to receive any testimony from interested parties and, most importantly, to collect any written protests of the reorganization from registered voters or landowners within the reorganization area.

Discussion

In accordance with the provisions of state law, notices of the protest proceeding were mailed to owners of land residing within the reorganization areas. In addition, notice of the protest proceeding was published in the Press-Democrat and the West County Times, and posted on the Commission’s website.

Staff has received 193 landowner protests and 115 voter protests as of April 27, 2021, and anticipates that there will not be sufficient protests to warrant verification of either landowner or registered voter petitions.

As a result, the Commission’s order of the reorganization will stand. A draft resolution has been prepared (attached) for the Commission’s consideration.

If, however, written protests are delivered to LAFCO prior to the close of the public hearing such that the thresholds listed in state law are reached (25 percent or more of registered voters or 25 percent or more of landowners owning 25 percent or more of the assessed land value within the affected territory), staff would recommend that the Commission seek validation of the protests through the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters and/or the Sonoma County Assessor.

Recommendation

Staff recommends that the Commission conduct a public hearing to receive testimony regarding protests of the Commission’s approval to annex the Forestville Fire Protection District territory to the Sonoma County Fire Protection District. Registered voters and landowners within the detachment area may file written protest petitions prior to the close of the hearing.

If, as expected, the written protests do not approach the thresholds enumerated in state law, staff recommends that the Commission adopt the attached resolution.

If it appears that written protest petitions may be sufficient to meet the thresholds, staff recommends that the Commission direct staff to undertake activities to determine the validity of petitions.

Attachments

  1. Draft Resolution

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