<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Court Decisions

ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS

Island Annexations
For purposes of section 56375.3, an “island” may not be a part of another island that is surrounded or substantially surrounded as described. A LAFCo may not split up an unincorporated island that exceeds 150 acres into smaller segments of 150 acres or less in order to utilize the streamlined “island annexation” procedures and thereby avoid the protest proceedings that would otherwise be required.
10-902 - 1 June 2012

CSD Service Contracts
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 sheriff or other local agency police department provide those services, and does not require a competitive bid.
11-204 - 1 June 2012

Mitigation Fees
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.
09-304 - 4 May 2010

Elections
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.
08-106 - 29 June 2009

City/County MOU
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.
07-506 - 13 Nov 2008

Incorporation Condition on Tax Approval
A local agency formation commission may condition its approval of the
incorporation of a city upon voters within the proposed city approving a general tax.
06-210 - 16 August 2006

Incorporation Boundaries
A Local Agency Formation Commission has the authority to enlarge the boundaries of a proposed incorporation beyond those set forth in the petition for incorporation.
07-206 - 27 June 2008

Property Tax Exchange
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.
05-809 - 9 February 2006

Prop. 218 Conditions
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.
99-602 - 6 October 1999

Alternate Members
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.
98-1011 - 4 March 1999

LAFCo is a Public Agency
LAFCos are not units of county government but are public agencies, and persons employed or contracted for by the commissions are commission employees, but county officers serving on the commissions do not lose their status as county employees.
65-2 - 16 April 1965

County Maintenance Districts
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).
64-130 - 9 June 1964

Court Decisions

California Supreme Court

Assessment Financing -- The California Supreme Court decided its first substantive case under the assessment provisions of Proposition 218, “The Taxpayers Right to Vote Act.”  It struck down an open-space assessment on the ground it did not demonstrate special benefit to the assessed property either as required by Proposition 218 or Proposition 13 and because the amounts assessed were not proportional to the special benefits conferred.  The unanimous decision sets out a new, more demanding standard of judicial review of local government assessment decisions and has significant implications for assessment financing in California. Supreme Court: S136468. 14 July 2008

Silicon Valley Taxpayers v. Santa Clara County Open Space Authority

Court of Appeals

Applicants for Out of Agency Service Agreements -- A city application for an out-of-agency service agreement can be submitted by an individual applicant as long as the affected city agrees and supports the agreement. Sixth District. 18 November 2011.

Community Water Coalition v. Santa Cruz LAFCo

Executive Officer as Independent Contractor -- A LAFCo can contract "executive officer services" to an individual as an independent contractor and conducting a closed-door evaluation of the contractor does not violate the Brown Act. The courts determined that the individual was the LAFCo Executive Officer. Third District. 25 March 2009.

Hoffman Ranch v. Yuba LAFCo

Annexations -- LAFCo's approval of annexation of territory to an open space district is upheld notwithstanding an incomplete notice of protest hearing and the protest counting methods. First District: 2008 SOS 744. 31 January 2008

Citizens for Responsible Open Space v. San Mateo LAFCo
Ruling Summary

Latent Power Activation -- A special district cannot provide a "new or different service" without LAFCo's approval. Third District: 2008 SOS 2324. 22 April 2008

South San Joaquin Irrigation District v. San Joaquin LAFCo

Deposing Commissioners -- The deliberative process privilege prohibits taking depositions of LAFCo commissioners. Third District: 2008 SOS 2328. 22 April 2008

South San Joaquin Irrigation District v. San Joaquin LAFCo

Principal County -- The principal county had jurisdiction to establish the sphere of influence and conduct service reviews for a multicounty district within the boundaries of the affected LAFCos county. Third District: 13 January 2006

Placer County LAFCo vs Nevada County LAFCo

School Districts -- LAFCo intervention in a in a school impact fee lawsuit was beyond its powers. First District: 86 Cal.App.3d 873. 1 December 1978

Timberidge Enterprises, Inc. v. City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma LAFCo

Legislature's Watchdog -- "LAFCos were created by the Legislature for a special purpose: to discourage urban sprawl and to encourage the orderly formation and development of local governmental agencies; such a commission is the "watchdog" the Legislature established to guard against the wasteful duplication of services that results from indiscriminate formation of new local agencies or haphazard annexation of territory to existing local agencies." Fifth District: 274 Cal.App.2d 545. 1 July 1969

City of Ceres v. City of Modesto

Superior Court

Island Annexations -- Taxes paid in the annexing city are extended to the territory to be annexed without a vote in an insland annexation. Orange Superior Court: 30-2010-00431832. 18 August 2011. Citizens' Association of Sunset Beach v. Orange County LAFCo

Consolidations -- LAFCo's determination to process a consolidation of a municipal water district and a water conservation district under C-K-H provisions upheld. Ventura Superior Court: 56-2007-00305563. 8 May 2008. San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District v. LAFCo of San Bernardino

Incorporation and CEQA -- An incorporation application is not a project under CEQA and an EIR is not required. Monterey Superior Court: M83394. 2 May 2008. Carmel Valley Forum v. LAFCo of Monterey County

Incompatibility of Office -- No incompatibility of office exists with a county planning director also serving as a LAFCo executive officer. Sierra Superior Court: 6728. 18 April 2008. Sierra Valley Development v. Sierra LAFCo

Independent Contractor -- An independent contractor may serve as an executive officer of a LAFCo. Yuba Superior Court: CVPT 06-0000487. 3 December 2007. Hoffman Ranch v. Yuba LAFCo

United States Court of Appeals

Annexations -- A civil rights organization sued Modesto, Stanislaus County and the County Sheriff for violations of the federal Fair Housing Act and other civil rights laws for entering into a tax-sharing agreement to facilitate annexations which excluded several Latino-dominated islands which were developed without substantial public infrastructure in the 1940s and 50s and which received allegedly inferior municipal services as a result.  The trial court had found insufficient evidence of discrimination and dismissed the suit. 2009 DAR 14628 (9th Cir. Filed 10/8/09)

The Committee Concerning Community Improvement v. City of Modesto