What is LAFCo?

LAFCo is an acronym for Local Agency Formation Commission. LAFCos were created by the State legislature in 1963 to regulate the boundaries of cities and special districts. There is a LAFCo in every county of the State. LAFCos are independent commissions with two county supervisors, two city council members, two special district members, and a public member. LAFCo contracts with the County of San Mateo for staff services and is funded by the County, all cities in the County, and all independent special districts.

What is a special district?

A special district is an agency of the State formed under general law or a special legislative act to provide governmental services such as sewer, water, fire protection, recreation, health care, police protection, mosquito and vector control, and other services. Independent special districts have locally elected board members and their own employees. County-governed special districts are governed by the Board of Supervisors and are operated by the County of San Mateo.

Does LAFCo have authority over school district boundaries?

No, school district boundaries are regulated by the County Committee on School District Reorganization, which is staffed by the County Office of Education and can be reached at (650) 802-5300.

When and where does LAFCo meet?

The Commission meets on the third Wednesday of the odd-numbered months (January, March, etc.) at 2:30 pm in the Board of Supervisors' Chambers, 400 County Center, Redwood City. Since March 2020, due to COVID-19, the Commission is meeting via Zoom. Please note that if there are no applications ready for hearing, a meeting may be cancelled by the Commission Chair.

How long does it take to process an annexation application?

Applications that are submitted in complete form and are non-controversial or routine typically take three to four months. More complex applications may take more time.

Is there a fee for LAFCo applications?

Annexation and reorganization applications are subject to fees set by San Mateo LAFCo and the State Board of Equalization. Fees vary based on the type of application and may also apply for environmental review. Contact the LAFCo staff at (650) 363-4224 for specific fee calculations.