LAFCO Policy and Procedure Guidelines


Section 1. Mission Statement

The Marin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) promotes and coordinates the efficient delivery of local governmental services and encourages the preservation of open space and agricultural lands.

Section 2. General Legislative Authority

These Policies, Procedures and Guidelines shall apply to the Local Agency Formation Commission of the County of Marin (hereinafter referred to as LAFCO or the Commission) and are adopted pursuant to the authority vested in the Commission by Division 3 (commencing with §56000) of Title 5 of the California Government Code (Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000). Amendments to these Policies, Procedures and Guidelines shall be made by majority vote of the Commission.

All rules and regulations heretofore adopted by this Commission are hereby repealed, and the rules and regulations herein adopted shall be the rules and regulations of this Commission.

As provided under the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act, 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 is required to balance orderly development with the sometimes competing state interests of discouraging urban sprawl, preserving open space and prime agricultural lands and efficiently extending government services, as well as providing housing for persons and families of all incomes. (§56001)

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

  1. To review and approve or disapprove - wholly, partially or conditionally, with or without amendments - proposals for changes in the boundaries and organization of the 11 cities and 30 independent special districts within Marin County plus incorporations of new cities, formation of new special districts and consolidation of existing special districts; and

  2. To conduct studies (municipal service reviews) of existing local government services with the goal of improving the efficiency and reducing the cost of providing local government services; and

  3. To establish spheres of influence -plans for the probable boundaries of each local agency -for the cities and special districts in the County and to review and update those spheres of influence every five years.

  4. To provide assistance to other government agencies and the public concerning changes in local government boundaries and organization.

Marin LAFCO has seven members selected from the members of the governing bodies of the County, the cities and independent special districts and from the public at large. The members of the Commission exercise their judgment on behalf of the interests of the public as a whole and not on behalf of their appointing authorities. (§56325.1)

In order to carry out its functions, the Legislature requires that LAFCO adopt policies, procedures and guidelines governing the implementation of the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act of 2000. (§§56300(a) and 56375)

Section 3. Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

Many of the decisions rendered by Marin LAFCO are "projects" as defined by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For purposes of complying with CEQA, Marin LAFCO has adopted the "State Guidelines" published by the California Office of Planning and Research. The State CEQA Guidelines are incorporated by this reference into the Marin LAFCO Policies, Procedures and Guidelines. Amendments to the State CEQA Guidelines are automatically effective unless otherwise noted by action of the Commission. (CEQA Guidelines §15022(d))

Section 4. Repealer

All previous resolutions of this Commission establishing policies, procedures, guidelines, rules and regulations are hereby repealed.