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Regulatory Powers

As provided under the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) is required by the State Legislature to regulate the orderly formation and expansion of local government agencies. In carrying out its duties, LAFCO must balance orderly development with the sometimes competing State interests of discouraging urban sprawl, preserving open space and prime agricultural lands, efficiently extending government services and providing housing for persons and families of all incomes in the most efficient manner feasible. (§56001)

LAFCO has responsibility in four areas affecting local government in Sonoma County:

  1. To review and approve or disapprove proposals for changes in the boundaries and organization of the nine cities and fifty four special districts within Sonoma County including incorporation's of new cities, formation of new special districts and mergers, consolidations or dissolutions of existing cities and special districts
  2. To conduct studies, including municipal service reviews, of existing local government services with the goal of improving the efficiency of providing services
  3. To establish spheres of influence, which are plans for the probable physical boundaries of each local agency, for cities and special districts within the County and to review and update those spheres of influence every five years
  4. To provide assistance to the public and other government agencies concerning changes in local government boundaries and organization