The Dec. 3 actions of San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission included the release of LAFCO’s 2012 Directory of Sphere of Influence and Municipal Service Review Actions.
The document includes 2012 actions as well as historical sphere of influence updates for special districts and incorporated cities in San Diego County. A sphere of influence study determines boundaries best served by that particular agency. A sphere of influence change does not necessary equate to an annexation, consolidation, detachment, or other boundary change, although a sphere of influence update is a prerequisite to any boundary adjustment.
Special districts include fire protection districts, water and sewer service districts, park and recreation districts, resource conservation districts, road improvement districts, hospital and cemetery districts, and other districts covering various services but do not include school districts, redevelopment agencies, or joint powers authorities.
Independent special districts have independently elected directors while the San Diego County Board of Supervisors or a city council serves as the board of a dependent special district.
A sphere of influence update is part of a jurisdictional boundary change proposal, and periodic reviews may confirm existing spheres or warrant changes. In August 2007, a sphere of influence review was conducted for all districts in San Diego County.
In 1967, the Rainbow Municipal Water District annexed three parcels, including a non-contiguous one, and in December 1984 that non-contiguous parcel was removed from Rainbow’s 75 square mile sphere approved at that time. A 16,150-acre sphere of influence, which equated to the Fallbrook Public Utility District boundary at that time, was approved by LAFCO in January 1985. In June 1985, the adoption of spheres for the Vallecitos Water District, the Vista Irrigation District, and the Bueno Colorado Municipal Water District led to the detachment of 40 acres from Rainbow’s sphere which was added to the Vallecitos sphere.
Six sphere of influence changes in the 1980s resulted in corresponding boundary changes between the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District. In June 1986, parcels of 1.28 and 0.35 acres were detached from FPUD and annexed to Rainbow while a 1.84-acre property was detached from Rainbow and annexed to FPUD. In June 1987, areas of 18.03 and 4.55 acres were moved from Rainbow to FPUD. A January 1989 LAFCO action transferred 1.73 acres from Rainbow to FPUD.
In January 1990, LAFCO dissolved the DeLuz Heights Municipal Water District as part of the consolidation between the DeLuz and FPUD districts. The 12,000 acres of the former DeLuz district were added to FPUD’s sphere. In October 1993, the Bueno Colorado Municipal Water District was dissolved with territory from that district being annexed to the Rainbow, Vallecitos, Vista, and Carlsbad districts. The Bueno Colorado reorganization added 24 acres to Rainbow’s sphere.
The Interstate 15 and Old Highway 395 corridor includes areas of the Rainbow, Vallecitos, and Valley Center districts separated from each district’s service area by I-15. A 162-acre special study area was reviewed in 2003, and LAFCO’s October 2003 position was that potential inclusion or exclusion from the Valley Center sphere would be resolved by Vallecitos and Rainbow sphere updates.
The August 2007 updates affirmed FPUD’s sphere equating to the district boundaries while affirming Rainbow’s sphere smaller than the district itself.
The initial San Luis Rey Municipal Water District was approved in May 1987 and determined that the 4.7 square mile sphere equated to the boundaries. The August 2007 update affirmed that sphere.
A separate Dec. 3 action began the process to detach 384 acres of the Meadowood project from the San Luis Rey district and annex that area into the Valley Center Municipal Water District. If no resolution supporting termination proceedings is submitted to LAFCO by Feb. 1, the annexation process which also includes annexing the territory into the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the San Diego County Water Authority will continue.
The sphere of influence update may be approved as early as spring 2013, although the annexation itself is subject to the MWD and SDCWA terms and conditions process and is estimated to take between 12 and 18 months.
FPUD and Rainbow are currently exploring a joint powers authority either as an initial step towards a consolidation or as an alternative to a merger. LAFCO approval is not required to form a JPA, but should consolidation proceedings more forward LAFCO would approve a sphere of influence update for the FPUD and Rainbow districts which would include a zero sphere for the dissolved district.
In November 1986, LAFCO approved a merger of the Fallbrook Fire Protection District and County Service Area No. 7, which provided fire protection service to Rainbow, while also annexing the Gavilan Mountain area into what became the North County Fire Protection District. (Rainbow kept its volunteer fire department, which has a separate budget administered by NCFPD).
The sphere of the 92 square mile district also included the DeLuz area, two square miles in Riverside County (a special district may cross county lines), a “u”-shaped segment at the midpoint of the northern boundary which divided the two former districts, and two portions located along the northeastern and eastern boundary.
In May 2007, LAFCO approved a review for all fire protection districts in San Diego County and affirmed NCFPD’s 122.86 square mile sphere which is larger than the district itself.
In October 2008, LAFCO annexed all territory not within the boundaries of a legal fire agency (territory served by a volunteer fire department but not by a public agency is legally considered an unserved area) into County Service Area No. 135, the San Diego County Regional Communications System, rather than creating a new district for the San Diego County Regional Fire Authority.
LAFCO also gave latent powers for fire protection and emergency medical service to CSA No. 135, which covers the entire unincorporated area of the county as well as several incorporated cities who have joined the 800 MHz communications system which allows emergency and public safety agencies to communicate with one another.
That placed DeLuz into the San Diego County Regional Fire Authority while maintaining the DeLuz Volunteer Fire Department. The SDCRFA contracts either with CalFire or with neighboring fire agencies, and some SDCRFA territory is still within the sphere of influence of a neighboring city or fire protection district.
The Meadowood area was also part of the larger-than-district sphere which became part of the San Diego County Regional Fire Authority. The LAFCO proceeding regarding the Meadowood reorganization would also detach that area from the SDCRFA while annexing it to NCFPD.
A sphere of influence for the Fallbrook Healthcare District (formerly the Fallbrook Hospital District) was approved by the LAFCO board in June 1986; the sphere boundaries equated to the 110 square miles of the actual district. The sphere was not changed by the 2007 review.
The initial sphere of influence for the Morro Hills Community Service District was approved in November 1984 and declared the district’s approximately 1,200 acres to be the sphere as well as the boundary. The 2007 update did not change the sphere.
The June 1986 sphere of influence for the Mission Resource Conservation District deemed the entire area of approximately 100,000 acres to be the sphere as well. The sphere of influence for the 414 square mile Upper San Luis Rey Resource Conservation District was also approved in June 1986 and included an additional 23.4 square miles consisting of non-contiguous islands, Cleveland National Forest land, and a portion of the Valley Center area. Neither sphere was changed during the 2007 update.
County Service Area 81 covers parks in Fallbrook, DeLuz, and Rainbow. As part of the proceedings for Fallbrook’s 1988 incorporation election (which failed at the ballot box), LAFCO approved a sphere of influence for CSA No. 81 in December 1987. The 112 square mile area was both the sphere and the boundary, and that was unchanged by the 2007 review.