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Policy: Sonoma City of – Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District Annexations

It is the Commission’s policy to encourage concurrent annexation to the City of Sonoma and the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District when the affected territory is:

  1. Contiguous to both City and District boundaries
  2. Within the City’s Urban Growth Boundary
  3. Within the County General Plan’s Urban Service Area Boundary
  4. Within the LAFCO-determined sphere of influence for the City.

Legal Authority

The Legislature provided each LAFCO with the authority to “establish written policies and procedures and exercise its a manner consistent with those policies and procedures and that encourages and provides planned, well-ordered, efficient urban development patterns with appropriate consideration of preserving open-space and agricultural lands within those patterns.” (Government Code Section §56300) This policy implements the intended goal of well-ordered growth.

Specifically, the Spheres of Influence and boundaries for the City of Sonoma and the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District overlap in some areas. As defined by Government Code Section §56061, “overlap” or “overlapping territory” means “territory which is included within the boundaries of two or more districts or within one or more districts and a city or cities.” The City is the only city in the County not providing sanitary sewer service, relying, instead, on the District to provide the service. Coordination between overlapping agencies is important, and, in this case, the Commission has determined is that all urban services should be provided to properties at the time of their annexation to the City.

Background and Discussion

At the LAFCO meeting of July 2, 2008, the Commission approved a reorganization proposal involving an annexation to the City of Sonoma (City) without a concurrent annexation to the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District (District). Concerned about the long-term coordination between the City and the District when either expansion of existing structures or new development occurs, the Commission directed its staff to develop a policy for concurrent annexation to the City and District and to communicate it to both agencies.

To facilitate the coordination, if a parcel meets the policy-established criteria, the City is to notify applicants for annexation to the City about the Commission’s policy and direct them to contact Premit Sonoma, which acts on behalf of the District to accept applications, to obtain information about concurrent application for annexation to the District.

Applications to LAFCO for reorganization, involving annexation to the City are not complete until the District board of directors has acted on the request for annexation to the District. Denial of the application by the District does not preclude LAFCO’s approving annexation to the City, without annexation to the District. In some cases, a parcel is within the City’s Urban Growth Boundary, the Sonoma County General Plan’s Urban Service Area, and the LAFCO-determined sphere of influence, but not contiguous. In this case, annexation only to the District is appropriate.

Adopted: July 2, 2008