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Policy: Consistency with City or County General and Specific Plans

Legal Authority

The legislature directed the Commission to consider a number of factors and policies in its review of proposals, in compliance with State law (§56668). One of the factors articulated in §56668 to be considered is city and county general plans.

The law states:

56668. Factors to be considered in the review of a proposal shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(g) A regional transportation plan adopted pursuant to Section 65080, and consistency with city or county general and specific plans.

Background and Discussion

For the purposes of this policy, areas intended for urban development by the Sonoma County General Plan are those areas included in the County General Plan "urban service area” boundaries and areas included within a city’s voter-approved “urban growth boundary.” These boundaries have major impacts on the Commission’s determinations as to the appropriate provision of urban services.

When conflicts exist between applicable general plans, the Commission, in making its decision, shall attempt to resolve the conflict based on applicable laws and the merits of the proposal. Where possible, the Commission encourages the affected jurisdictions to meet and resolve such conflicts prior to LAFCO consideration. In cases where there is a conflict between county and/or city general plans and LAFCO policy, the Commission’s policy shall govern.

In 2009, state legislation added language to the factors that LAFCOs must consider in their review of proposals. Specifically, the Commission must now consider “a regional transportation plan.” The regional transportation plan refers to provisions in the “Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008.” Many regions in the state must prepare plans and, as active participants in the plan, LAFCOs are required to consider them in their decisions. As of 2011, the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission are developing the Sustainable Communities Plan for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Until a plan is adopted for Sonoma County, it is premature to include consideration of a regional transportation plan in the Commission’s decisions.

Adopted: August 2006 as Policy 5
Amended: June 1, 2011