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Spheres of Influence and Other Planning Activities

These policies address the Commission’s preferences and priorities in meeting Marin LAFCo’s planning responsibilities with a specific focus on spheres of influence and municipal service reviews. This includes telegraphing core planning principles and expectations to guide future and corresponding regulatory actions (boundary changes, agency formations, consolidation, etc.) through timely and regular studies that ultimately contribute to the advantageous growth and development of local communities. Other pertinent provisions include deferring applicant requests for individual sphere of influence changes to correspond with the Commission’s own scheduled studies and explicitly signal the membership’s expectation to land use authorities in how they should plan (or not plan) in response to sphere designations. These policies were most recently updated in 2016.

Marin LAFCo is responsible for establishing, amending, and updating spheres of influence for all local agencies in Marin County. Spheres of influence – markedly – serve as the Legislature’s version of urban growth boundaries and delineates the territory the LAFCo independently believes represents the appropriate current and future jurisdictional boundaries and service areas of the affected agencies. All jurisdictional changes and outside service extensions must conform to the affected agencies’ spheres of influence with limited exceptions under State law. Consistent with adopted policies all requests to amend spheres of influence shall conform to the following procedures.

Requests may be made by the affected agency, landowners, or registered voters and filed with the Executive Officer. 

Requests shall be made in letter form addressed to the Executive Officer and include all of the following information:

  • Clearly state the nature of the proposed change and reasons therein.
  • Description of the affected area, including listing of all affected assessor parcels.
  • Disclosure of any associated development plans involving the affected area.
  • Appropriate filing fee.

Please note any proposed minor sphere of influence amendments may be considered by Marin LAFCo concurrently with a proposal for a change of organization or outside service request. Significant amendments will be considered independently of and prior to any associated boundary change proposal or outside service request and deferred for consideration to correspond with Marin LAFCo’s adopted study schedule unless the Commission authorizes otherwise.

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