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Purpose of LAFCO

Local agency formation commissions were created by state law in 1963 to encourage the orderly formation of local government agencies, to preserve agricultural and open space land, and to discourage urban sprawl. Sonoma LAFCO has jurisdiction over changes in local government organization occurring within Sonoma County.

Proceedings for changes of organization of special districts or cities are subject to LAFCO review, pursuant to the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (Government Code Section 56000, et seq.) (“the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act”).

A “change of organization” means any of the following:

  • City incorporation;
  • A district formation;
  • An annexation to, or detachment from, a city or district;
  • A disincorporation of a city;
  • District dissolution;
  • A consolidation of cities or special districts;
  • A merger of a city and a district or establishment of a subsidiary district;
  • The exercise of new or different functions or classes of services, or divestiture of the power to provide particular functions or classes of services, within all or part of the jurisdictional boundaries of a special district

“Reorganization” means involving two or more of the above-listed changes of organization initiated in a single proposal.

The following local government agencies are specifically excluded from LAFCO jurisdiction:

  • A school district or community college district
  • A special assessment district
  • An improvement district
  • A community facilities district formed pursuant to the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982
  • A permanent road division formed pursuant to Section 1160 et seq. of the Streets and Highways Code
  • An air pollution control district or an air quality maintenance district
  • A service zone

The following local governmental agencies are not subject to LAFCO jurisdiction if the Commission of the principal county determines that they are not a “district” or a “special district:”

  • A flood control district
  • A flood control district and floodwater conservation district
  • A flood control district and water conservation district
  • A conservation district
  • A water conservation district
  • A water replenishment district
  • A California water storage district
  • A water agency and,
  • A county water authority or a water authority