Attorney General Opinion

An alternate member of a LAFCo, when not serving in place of a regular member, may participate in public hearings and deliberations of the commission but may not participate in closed sessions.

An MOU between a county and cities within the county, under which the county would agree to implement certain land use development standards within each city’s sphere of influence in exchange for the cities’ agreement to adopt resolutions in support of a multiple species habitat conservation plan, would not, in itself, amount to an illegal exchange of votes within the meaning of Penal Code section 86. 

A LAFCo may condition its approval of the incorporation of a city upon voters within the proposed city approving a general tax and the LAFCo’s resolution imposing a condition that the voters of a proposed city approve a general tax may be adopted by majority vote.

A LAFCo may approve the continuation of a county service area within territory to be annexed by a city even though the level of services provided in the area will be the same as the level of the services provided by the city to its other residents, but only when the commission finds that (1) discontinuation would deprive the area of services needed to ensure the health, safety, or welfare of the residents and (2) continuation would not affect the ability of the city to provide any services.

County Maintenance Districts formed under the Streets & Highways Code (5820-5856) are not subject to LAFCo because they are merely financing entities. This AG opinion also concluded that County Service Areas are not subject to LAFCo jurisdiction, however this opinion resulted in legislation putting CSAs under LAFCo jurisdiction in 1967 (AB 1620-Knox).

Where a community services district has received approval from a LAFCo to exercise its latent power to provide police protection and law enforcement services within its boundaries, that district may contract with the county or another local public agency in order to have the county sheriff or other local agency police department provide those services.

The fact that section 54784 of the Government Code does not provide for the disqualification of county members of LAFCo as well as the interested city member with respect to an annexation proposal does not render that section unconstitutional. The failure of section 54784 of the Government Code to provide for the disqualification of county members as well as the interested city members of LAFCo with respect to annexation proposals does not violate the one-man, one-vote requirement of the Equal Protection Clause.

Where voters are asked to dissolve an existing community services district and, in the same election, to establish a new city encompassing the same territory as the district and providing all services presently provided by the district, an individual may stand for election on the same ballot to both the existing district board of directors and the proposed city council, because only one of the two offices could exist after the election.

Granting leave to sue in quo warranto would not serve the public interest in determining whether the "de facto annexation" of an area known as Santa Ana Heights by the Irvine Ranch Water District Water Service Company, following its merger with the Santa Ana Heights Water Company which had previously served that area, without the approval of the LAFCo of Orange County and without a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the Public Utilities Commission violated state law. 

A LAFCo has the authority to enlarge the boundaries of a proposed incorporation beyond those set forth in the petition for incorporation.

A LAFCo may condition its approval of the incorporation of a city upon voters within the proposed city approving a general tax.

For purposes of Government Code section 56375.3, an “island” is an area of unincorporated territory that is (1) completely surrounded, or substantially surrounded—that is, surrounded to a large degree, or in the main—either by the city to which annexation is proposed or by the city and a county boundary or the Pacific Ocean, or (2) completely surrounded by the city to which annexation is proposed and adjacent cities.  An “island” may not be a part of another island that is surrounded or substantially surrounded in this same manner.

A county board of supervisors has no statutory authority to disapprove or modify the estimated budget submitted to it by a local agency formation commission (81-420). 

The provision of Government Code section 54776.1(b) that requires a county board of supervisors to fund a LAFCo a budget based on "the amount provided in the prior fiscal year" refers to the amount that board had appropriated for the LAFCo in the county budget for that year (83-1110).

A LAFCo may require the payment of a mitigation fee (either on a one-time basis or a recurring basis) to a public agency as a condition of approval of a boundary change among public agencies. In this case a city taking over fire service from a district may be required to pay a mitigation fee to the district.

If a LAFCo conditions that the subject agency levy or fix and collect a previously established and collected tax, benefit assessment, or property-related fee
or charge on parcels being annexed to the agency, the voter and landowner approval requirements of Prop 218 do not apply.

In the absence of a jurisdictional change, a city council and a county board of supervisors may execute an agreement that changes the allocation of property tax revenues as between the city and the county, where the change would not affect the allocation for any other public entity.

Where a city, pursuant to section 51243.5 of the Government Code, has filed a protest to a Williamson Act contract, but the LAFCo does not hold a hearing on such protest before the execution of the contract by the board of supervisors, the commission may still thereafter properly hold a hearing on and uphold the city's protest. The legal effect of the LAFCo upholding the city's protest after the Williamson Act contract has been executed is the same as if it had been upheld before execution thereof.

A person may not serve simultaneously as (1) the fire chief of a city, (2) a director of a fire protection district that has no overlapping boundaries with the city, and (3) a commissioner of the LAFCo representing the special districts of the county. (01-104)

A District director may not concurrently serve on either the city council or on the city planning commission. An individual may not simultaneously hold two public offices if either office exercises a supervisory, auditing, or removal or veto power over the other; if there is any significant clash of duties or loyalties between the offices; or if the dual office holding would be improper for reasons of public policy. (17-903)

A city  and a county may agree to recommend to the LAFCo specific changes in the city’s sphere of influence boundaries and express the intent to jointly agree to any changes in such boundaries in the future.