Local Government Organization/LAFCO Law

The formation of new cities or districts and annexations of land into existing local public agencies are governed by Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCOs). SMW represents public agencies before LAFCOs and defends agencies when a LAFCO ruling comes under attack. The firm also represents community groups and neighboring agencies who oppose various LAFCO actions, both during the administrative process and in court. Examples of SMW’s work in this field include:

photo © Frank Crossman
Acorn Woodpecker, Midpeninsula
Regional Open Space
  • Midpeninsula Open Space District: The firm assisted in the preparation of an EIR for the annexation and preservation of the entire San Mateo County coast and successfully defended the court action challenging the San Mateo County LAFCO’s approval of the annexation.
  • City of Orinda: The firm assisted the City in gaining approval from Contra Costa LAFCO for the annexation of land to be used as playing fields.
  • Sierra Club: On behalf of the Sierra Club, the firm filed a lawsuit against San Joaquin County LAFCO alleging inadequate environmental review of an amendment to the City of Stockton’s sphere of influence to accommodate a 5300-acre development on the City’s edge, and negotiated a settlement that requires the developers to pay one of the highest ever per-acre agricultural mitigation fees.
  • Preannexation Agreements: The firm represented the City of Livermore in negotiating preannexation and development agreements with numerous landowners and with Alameda County establishing expectations and procedures for consideration of annexation and development applications, fees, dedications, and infrastructure development and financing.