LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS .LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS ... protest and election proceedings if initiated

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Transcript of LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS .LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS ... protest and election proceedings if initiated

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONSPart 4 of CKH: Conducting Authority Proceedings

    Conducting Authority Purpose & History

    Basic procedures

    Tips on conducting protest proceedings

    Flow Charts

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONSDefinitions

    A commission, or its Executive Officer, is referred to as a

    Conducting Authority when exercising responsibility under

    Section 56069.5 to provide notice to voters and property owners

    allowing for submittal of written protest. (56029)

    Changes of organization can be ordered without an election; with

    an election; or can be subject to termination, depending on

    amount of protest submitted during conducting authority proceedings (57075-77, 57077.1-4, 57078)

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS

    History of Conducting Authority Proceedings

    o Prior to 2001, affected city, district, or county performed role of Conducting Authority as designated by LAFCO.

    When affected agencies were assigned responsibility to conduct the protest proceedings, they were referred to as the conducting authority.

    Affected agencies were unfamiliar with conducting authority responsibilities and caused delays they were relieved when CKH was enacted transferring these responsibilities to LAFCO.

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS

    History of Conducting Authority Proceedings

    o Enactment of CKH in 2000 carried over the usage of the term, conducting authority and assigned the responsibility to LAFCO (or the executive officer). The usage of the terms conducting authority proceedings and protest proceedings is interchangeable.

    o LAFCOs are responsible for conducting authority responsibilities, except for:

    Special act districts (e.g., 56036.5 agencies: library district, bridge & highway district, transit district, metropolitan water district, separation of grade district).

    Special act districts that LAFCO determines is not a district for purpose of protest proceedings (e.g., Flood Control Dist., Floodwater Cons. Dist., Conservation dist., H2O Replenishment Dist., Orange County WD, Calif. Storage Dist., Water Agency, County Water Auth.)

  • Basic LAFCO Procedure

    Initiation

    Resolution of affected county - city - special district

    school district

    LAFCO meeting/hearing

    LAFCO disapproval

    LAFCO approval

    Conducting authority hearing (If LAFCO did not waive protest

    hearing and election)

    Order if less than 50% protest

    (uninhabited); Order w/out election if less

    than 25% protest (inhabited);

    otherwise order w/ election

    Proceedings terminated (One year wait to reapply unless waived by LAFCO)

    Petition of registered voter / landowner

    (5-25% petition threshold)

    50% or more protest Terminate proceedings

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS

    Tips to Avoid Falling into the Protest Hearing Rabbit Hole

    o Prepare: Staff/Commission script

    o Follow a reasonable interpretation of provisions

    o Delegation: When to lead and follow

    o Develop forms: Protest forms; political contributions, etc.

    o Determine protest value: Be fair, be easy on self

    o Establish fee schedule: Protest verification costs

    o Time requirements: Notification; reporting results, etc.

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS

    TIP NO. 1: PREPARE A SCRIPTProtest hearings have mandatory components and it is easy to

    make procedural errors, so prepare a script and do not attempt to wing-it. Below is a suggested script template.

    o Introductions: Call meeting to order, introduce staff especially if Registrar of Voters or Assessors Office staff are present.

    o Purpose: Describe the purpose of the hearing for the public to avoid rehearing the original proposal.

    o Delegation disclosure: Disclose if Exec. Officer is running mtg.

    o Meeting Summary: (1) Meeting format, (2) Time frame for submittal of protests, (3) Speaker slips, protest forms, withdrawal forms, (4) Summary of Resolution making dets, (5) Verification procedure, (6) Protest & majority protest thresholds, (7) Reporting results of meeting.

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS

    TIP NO. 2: MAKE REASONABLE INTERPRETATIONSProtest provisions have odd requirements. Use common sense and fair

    approaches in making interpretations. Dont be in the weeds making micro-analytical unintelligible interpretations.

    o Reduce Judgment calls: Protests must be in writing; develop separate forms for voter and land owner protests; include ownership proportionality disclosures to reduce judgment calls on determining protest sufficiency.

    o Filing of Protests: Protests must be filed prior to the conclusion of hearing showing date of signature and whether it was made by a registered voter or landowner. Some LAFCOs allow postmarks, while others require the filing of actual written protests at the hearing.

    o Continuance of Hearing: Section 57050 permits a hearing continuance, not to exceed 60 days from the date specified in hearing notice; a continuance should be granted for compelling reasons, rather than to allow opponents to circumvent (expand) the protest gathering time frame contained in the hearing notice.

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS

    TIP NO. 3: WHEN TO DELEGATE TO EXECUTIVE OFFICER

    Responsibility for conducting protest proceedings can be delegated to Executive Officer per Sec. 57000(c) because

    such proceedings are largely ministerial. However.

    o Controversial proposals. Even though protest proceedings are largely ministerial, some opponents associated with controversial proposals may use protest proceedings to impugn credibility of LAFCO and staff. In those cases, consider the following:

    Let the commission serve as conducting authority.

    Invite Registrar of Voters or Assessor staff to monitor or collect protests for verification.

    Use LAFCO Legal Counsel to fullest extent possible to assist with running meeting.

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONS

    TIP NO. 4: ANTICIPATE THE UNANTICIPATED

    Verification of written protests can be time consuming and expensive, so consider adding a protest verification category to

    the fee schedule.

    o Protest Forms: Prepare written two sets of protest forms for the public: (1) registered voter and (2) landowner.

    o Register of Voters Fees: Some LAFCOs will send protest forms to Registrar for verification and are in turn charged a fee for this service. Other LAFCOs conduct the verification internally. To minimize LAFCO costs, consider the following.

    Add a fee category to LAFCO processing fee schedule and pass-on the actual verification costs to applicants.

    Refer all draft protest forms to Registrar and Assessor for comment to ensure form format meets verification requirements.

  • LAFCO PROTEST PROVISIONSTIP NO. 5: TIME REQUIREMENTS & OTHER MATTERS

    Protest provisions contain certain quirks that can be inadvertently overlooked.

    o Protest hearing must be set within 35 days following adoption of commission resolution making determinations (57002)

    o Hearing cannot be less than 21 days or more than 60 days after notice.

    o Hearing may be continued not to exceed 60 days from date in notice.

    o Extension of any previously authorized special tax or benefit assessment requires mailed notice to each landowner within the affected territory. (57025)

    o Hearing Location: Hearing in affected territory if LAFCO initiated proposal.

    o Conclusion of Hearing: Written protests must be filed prior to conclusion of hearing (57051).

    After hearing is closed, it may be necessary to re-convene at a subsequent meeting to report the results of the protest verification. Remember to first close the hearing.

  • Navigating Through LAFCO Protest Procedures

  • Inhabited District Annexation

    Initiation (GC 56650, 56653, 56654, 56864)

    Resolution of affected county - city - special district -

    school district

    LAFCO meeting/hearing

    LAFCO disapproval

    LAFCO approval

    Conducting authority hearing (LAFCO may waive notice,

    hearing, and election) (GC 56663)

    Less than 25% protest order annexation

    (GC 57075)

    (One year wait to reapply unless waived by LAFCO) Proceedings terminated

    (GC 56884)

    Petition of registered voter / property owner

    (25% petition threshold)

    50% or more protest terminate proceedings

    (GC 57078)

    25% or more protest order election (GC 57075)

    Majority voter approval order annexation

    (GC 57176)

    Less than majority voter approval terminate proceedings

    (GC 57179)

    Resolution of annexing district

    LAFCO information meeting and annexing district notification

    (GC 56857)

    Annexing district adopts resolution requesting termination

    within 60 days of LAFCO information meeting

    District does not request termination within 60 days

    Proposal is terminated

  • Inhabited City Annexation

    Initiation (Annexation area must be in the same county. Area

    must be contiguous with the city unless it is city-owned property or a state correctional facility)

    (GC 56653, 56654, 56741, 56742, 56742.5)

    Resolution of affected county - city - special district -

    school district

    LAFCO meeting/hearing

    LAFCO disapproval

    LAFCO approval

    Conducting authority hearing (LAFCO may waive notice,

    hearing, and election) (GC 56663, 57002)

    Less than 25% protest order annexation

    (GC 57075)

    Proceedings terminated (One year wait to reapply unless waived by LAFCO)