gmhTODAY 08 gmhToday May June 2016 - Page 81

The mission of the Santa Clara LAFCO is to promote orderly growth and development in Santa Clara County by: • Preserving agricultural lands and open space; • Curbing urban sprawl; • Encouraging efficient delivery of services; • Exploring and facilitating regional opportunities for fiscal sustainability; and • Promoting public accountability and transparency of local agencies to improve governance. Three boundaries of review: Comprised of seven members: Annexations • Two County Supervisors appointed by the Board of Supervisors Currently: Mike Wasserman and Ken Yage An annexation adds land to the city limits. Some annexations push boundaries of a city outward. Other annexations are island annexations within existing city limits. (CITY LIMITS IN RED ON MAP) Urban Service Area (USA) An USA is a planning boundary for cities. It delineates areas that are currently provided with urban services, facilities and utilities; or areas proposed to be annexed into a city within the next 5 years in order to be developed and receive city services. (SHOWN IN YELLOW ON MAP) Sphere of Influence (SOI): A SOI is a planning boundary that applies to special districts and cities. State law defines a SOI as a plan for the probable physical boundaries and service area of a local agency, as determined by LAFCO. The USA is an indication of areas that the city will in the future annex or provide services.  For cities, the SOI is a long range planning tool to evaluate USA amendments and annexation requests. (SHOWN IN BLUE ON MAP) area to sphere of influence. LAFCO is a significant force in the general planning process that impacts cities and special districts in South County and throughout California. LAFCO has been described as a “powerful but obscure” agency. Recently, LAFCO played a major role in both Gilroy and Morgan Hill when the cities attempted to expand in ways that each had determined to be responsible. LAFCO filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the City of Gilroy, blocking its annexation of 721 acres to the north. This move would have paved the way for a build-out of that • One Council Member from the City of San Jose appointed by the City Council Currently: Johnny Khakis • One Council Member from any of the other cities appointed by the Cities Selection Committee Currently: Cat Tucker (Gilroy), 2015-16 Chairperson • Two Board Members from independent special districts: • One appointed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Currently: Linda Lezotte • One appointed by the Independent Special District Selection Committee Currently: Sequoia Hall (Open Space) • One Public Member appointed by the other members of the Commission Currently: Susan Vicklund Wilson acreage, consistent with previous LAFCO directives promoting growth in the north. Known as the Los Olivos Project, it called for development to be undertaken over a 15-20 year time span. LAFCO also recently blocked the City of Morgan Hill on two occasions, which involved the Southeast Quadrant (229 acres) and the Monterey- Watsonville (71 acres) development projects. While LAFCO could have a positive role to play in preventing urban sprawl in South County, its history of decisions has not been favorable to South County. Between 2010 and 2015, LAFCO has approved approximately 1,500 acres of annexations, GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2016 urban service areas, and sphere of influence amendments in Santa Clara County. During this same time period, LAFCO approved annexation of only 10 acres in Morgan Hill and none in Gilroy. Going back further in time, the Gilroy Sports Park was denied in 2002 and Gilroy’s golf course expansion was denied in 1999. This is especially significant because Gilroy and Morgan Hill are the only cities in Santa Clara County with a surrounding green belt. To learn more about Santa Clara County LAFCO, go to santaclaralafco.org. gmhtoday.com 81