Marin Local Agency Formation Commission

Planning Agency / Subdivision of the State of California

  • Protecting Against Urban Sprawl

    Urban sprawl can best be described as irregular and disorganized growth occurring without apparent design or plan. This pattern of development is characterized by the inefficient delivery of urban services (police, fire, water, and sanitation) and the unnecessary loss of agricultural resources and open space lands.
  • Local Organization

    LAFCO must consider the effect that any proposal will produce on existing agricultural lands. By guiding development toward vacant urban land and away from agricultural preserves, LAFCO assists with the preservation of our valuable agricultural resources.
  • Community Coordination

    Marin LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) is responsible for reviewing proposals for the formation of new local governmental agencies and for changes in the organization of existing agencies.
  • Preparing Studies

    Marin LAFCO is responsible for regularly preparing studies to independently assess the relationship between service demands and community needs.
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July 12, 2012 - Outcomes & Issues from Meeting of May 14: Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives


The Commission held its annual strategic planning meeting on Monday, May 14. Although the discussion was productive, several Commissioners were not able to attend and time did not permit review of adopted goals and objectives. The Commission’s adopted goals and objectives stand until amended - there is no requirement for their revision. The purpose of this memo is summarize the May 14th meeting and to extend its discussion of key points to include all members of the Commission.

Meeting Summary

On May 14, 2012, the Marin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) convened a strategic planning retreat. The purpose of the retreat was to review Marin LAFCO’s goals and discuss key areas of focus for 2012.

Commissioners attending were Judy Arnold, Einar Asbo, Chris Burdick, Carla Condon, Barbara Heller, Craig K. Murray, and Kathrin Sears. Commissioners absent were Susan Adams, Jeff Blanchfield, Dennis Rodoni and Herb Weiner. Staff members attending were Peter Banning, Executive Officer and the Commission Clerk, Candice Bozzard. Members of the public in attendance were Bonner Beuhler (Almonte Sanitary District), Kevin Reilly (Almonte Sanitary District) and Kett Zegart (Southern Marin Advocate). The meeting was facilitated by Bill Chiat, CALAFCO Executive Director.

Progress Report & Updates

The Executive Officer presented a status report that detailed the events and accomplishments of 2011, noted areas of ongoing business, and prospective activity anticipated for 2012.

In reviewing the work plan for 2011, staff discussed the following highlights:

• The Commission’s processing of the Annexation of the Territory of the City of Sausalito to the Southern Marin Fire Protection District offered unusual and complex features not usually a part of boundary changes in Marin County. Processing included extensive pre-application involvement by staff, initiation by the Sausalito City Council, a request for reconsideration, protest and election. An election for confirmation of a boundary change approved by LAFCO has not been required in Marin County for at least 15 years.

• The Commission has initiated consolidation proceedings for southern Marin Sanitary Districts. Staff is preparing for public hearings beginning in September.

• Staff is currently working with Kames & Associates in re-designing the LAFCO website. The new Marin LAFCO website will include a fresh new design, reorganization of the information currently on the website and the “History Project". The History Project requires new geographic information system (GIS) programming by MarinMap staff. The system will link completion documentation with maps of each city and special district showing areas affected by boundary changes. In addition, a series of ideas from the Technical/Public Information Committee will be incorporated in the new website design.

• The Policy/Administrative Procedures Committee is in the process of generating information necessary for the Commission to consider provision of employee retirement benefits comparable to those provided to County employees. Commissioner Burdick will be meeting with an actuary to discuss the impact on the Commission’s budget. He reported that this should be resolved by the end of 2012.

• There are no current municipal service reviews and spheres of influence (MSR/SOI) studies underway at this time. However, the water districts and the 5-year review of the San Rafael Sphere of Influence need to be 2012 Strategic Planning Retreat 3. July 6, 2012 planned and scheduled. There was some discussion regarding the Central Marin Sanitation Agency study being included with the San Rafael area for analysis or the Ross Valley study area.

• Staff described problems and issues in conforming to the procedure for review and revision of municipal service review and sphere of influence studies every five years. Beyond complying with the Commission’s mandates under GCS 56425 and 56430 and the inherent purposes of general planning for the orderly extension of urban services, LAFCO has not defined potential audience and uses of these studies. The Commission’s existing goals and objectives do reflect interest in communication among public agencies and public understanding of local services, but there is no specific link between adopted objectives to how the Commission’s studies will be carried out and/or updated. The following sections list the Commission’s adopted goals and objectives with additional subjects, issues or themes for each goal that were brought up in discussion during the brainstorming portion of the workshop. The Commission may wish to edit or add to these goals and objectives.

Current Strategic Plan Goals & Objectives

Goal #1: Carry Out AB 2838 and AB 1232 and Bring Marin LAFCO into Compliance with all other Applicable Laws and Regulations

2011 Strategic Objectives:

1. On an ongoing basis, the Executive Officer will actively work with SASM and its member agencies in determining a course of action for the Commission in responding to AB1232.

2. By September 2011, the Commission will review the adopted SOIs for southern Marin sewer service agencies and determine what action, if any, it will take in response to the provisions of AB 1232.

Additional Issues/Possible Objectives

  • Replace #2 with: “Finish action on Southern Marin Sanitary District Consolidation and AB 1232” 2012 Strategic Planning Retreat 4. July 6, 2012
  • How pro-active should LAFCO be? What attempt, if any, should the Commission make to implement its policies?
  • What is the intended audience and purpose of MSR/SOI studies over and above compliance with the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act, if any? Is the present process adequate and useful?
  • Should the Commission’s studies only enumerate and describe local government services and relationships or should studies also include conclusions or judgments concerning the adequacy of agencies and services? Is or how is, the Commission a watchdog on local government?
  • Define standard content, uses and audiences for periodic MSR/SOI updates.
  • Maintain standard data for agencies/services/regions over time and for use by LAFCO and others, to track changes in local government services over time.

Goal #2: Align the Work Plan and Budget Process with the Strategic Plan

2011 Strategic Objectives:

1. On an ongoing basis, the Executive Officer will align the work plan and budget process with the strategic plan to reinforce accountability and cost efficiency.

2. By May 2011, staff and the Policy/Administrative Procedures Committee will provide recommendations for the Commission’s action on retiree healthcare benefit options.

Additional Issues/Possible Objectives

  • What budget and staff resources are required to carry out the role the Commission sees for itself considering its legislative mandate and policy objectives? 2012 Strategic Planning Retreat 5. July 6, 2012
  • How can the Commission plan for the retirement of its Executive Officer?- Recruitment for EO, staffing needs long-term: largely based on need for special studies and their impact on work load reflected in the role of staff and use of consultants.- Need to finish analysis of provision of employee healthcare benefits.

Goal #3: Increase Public Communication and Outreach to Promote Understanding of LAFCO Mandates and Functions

2011 Strategic Objectives:

1. On an ongoing basis, the Executive Officer and Commissioners will expand LAFCO informational briefings to a broader group of elected officials and other boards and councils in order to provide good communication and outreach to elected officials.

2. On an ongoing basis, LAFCO staff and Commissioners will convene meetings in any community where major special studies or boundary changes are contemplated.

3. LAFCO staff and Technical /Public Information Committee will investigate additional administrative or communication tools including the use of digital media that may be useful in furthering Commission objectives.

4. LAFCO staff will comment on environmental documents where sphere of influence amendments and/or changes to local government boundaries are a part of the project description.

Additional Issues/Possible Objectives

  • Share maps and mapping tools more widely.
  • Increase interaction of Commissioners, staff, and agencies in study design of MSR/SOI updates. Be more collaborative throughout the process to enhance public understanding of local services, agencies and government structure.
  • Use of website improvements and social media to enhance public understanding of local services.
  • 2012 Strategic Planning Retreat 6. July 6, 2012
  • Expand scope of the Commission’s directory of local government agencies to include joint powers authorities and other agencies not under LAFCO’s authority.

Goal #4: Exchange Information and Partner with Other LAFCOs and Other Peer Organizations to Improve Efficiency in LAFCO’s Work

2011 Strategic Objectives:

1. The Executive Officer will attend meetings of Bay Area LAFCO Executive Officers and other regional meetings, such as ABAG and MTC, to exchange information and explore partnerships on regional topics such as the emerging “Sustainable Communities Strategies” and the implementation of legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

2. LAFCO staff and commissioners will work with local legislators, the CALAFCO Legislative Committee and CALAFCO Executive Director to guide the development of legislation affecting local governments in Marin County.

Additional Issues/Possible Objectives

  • Review of basic Countywide General Plan policies defining eastern urban and inland rural corridors.
  • nclude greater information on supply, use and distribution of recycled wastewater in upcoming MSR/SOI for water districts.
  • Define and identify disadvantaged unincorporated communities (DUCs) as part of MSR/SOI update process.
  • Continue to track SB375 implementation, 7-year housing element cycle and fair-share housing allocations where relevant to LAFCO’s role.

Goal #5: Provide a venue for public discussion of Countywide issues on services and planning that affect LAFCO’s mandate

2011 Strategic Objectives:

1. The Executive Officer and Commissioners will attend meetings that discuss Countywide issues, such as housing, land use, transportation, fire and related policies. It is important for LAFCO “to be at the table” and offer a LAFCO perspective in critical land use deliberations to allow decision-makers to think through organizational and boundary implications of land use and related issues.


According to its participants, the May 14th meeting discussion was useful and productive, but raised more questions about LAFCO’s goals and objectives than it answered. Staff’s input to the discussion primarily concerned the perceived need to clarify the purposes of the Commission’s MSR/SOI studies and improve the way in which they are updated. Staff recommends that the Commission discuss and direct drafting of any amendments to its adopted goals and objectives. At the Commission’s direction, staff will compose new or revised goals and objectives for formal adoption at the Commission’s next meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Banning Executive Officer

Download this file (7-12-12-strat-plan-staff-rpt.pdf)7-12-12-strat-plan-staff-rpt.pdf[ ]98 kB

The Marin LAFCO directory provides a list of government agencies, board members and other important information and agency facts. The directory also includes links to interactive maps which disaply city limits, community boundaries and other highlighted features.


LAFCO Directory