We submitted the following comments
Dear LAFCo Commissioners;
Per the message below, the Committee for Green Foothills supports the LAFCo staff proposal on agricultural mitigation guidelines. We additionally support the Greenbelt Alliance position:
That no less than one acre of farmland be protected for every acre paved over.
That the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act definition of prime farmland be used instead of the LESA model which has failed to protect farmland in
Cities should craft their own ordinances that assure LAFCO that mitigation will be fulfilled at the time of development and that the mitigation requirement be recorded against the property
Finally, we note that one sentence in the staff report should be clarified by the LAFCo Commission. On page 4, the last sentence in the second paragraph reads “LAFCO’s decision on the proposal will not be based solely on the issue of impacts to agriculture or consistency with LAFCO’s agricultural mitigation policies.” While it is correct that LAFCo may make its decision based on other criteria, this sentence unintentionally suggests that agricultural impacts are insufficient grounds, standing alone, to deny an application. LAFCo retains the authority to decide that even if all other criteria are met, impact to agriculture can be so severe as to justify denial. In staff’s attempt to clarify that compliance with guidelines is not mandatory, this statement became overbroad. I suggest LAFCo state their understanding to be the following instead:
“LAFCO’s decision on the proposal will consider all criteria, not solely the issue of impacts to agriculture or consistency with LAFCO’s agricultural mitigation policies.”
Please contact me if you have any questions.
From: Committee for Green Foothills [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 2:10 PM
To: Committee for Green Foothills
The Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) is deciding whether to clarify agricultural mitigation guidelines that call on developers to legally protect at least one acre of farmland for each acre they convert into city land. Please contact the LAFCo Commission and tell them to support the guidelines as a significant step forward in protecting our remaining farmlands!
Santa Clara County LAFCo decides whether cities can expand and extend city services to new areas, such as City of
LAFCo must consider the impact on farmland when deciding whether to approve city expansions, but the guidelines for considering this impact, and whether preserving other nearby farmland on a permanent basis would make up for the farmland lost to development, were all unclear. LAFCo staff now proposes guidelines suggesting that at least one acre should be preserved for every acre lost. While the guidelines could be stronger, they are a significant improvement over current policy. The proposed guideline also clarifies that even if cities comply with this one-to-one replacement factor, they would have no guarantee of approval of the annexation, because the loss of farmland can still be significant. The guidelines are also stiffer than those proposed or in place by some cities.
What you can do
The Santa Clara LAFCo Commission meets on Wednesday, April 4th, to decide whether to approve the staff recommendation. At the same meeting, LAFCo will decide whether to approve an expansion of
1. Please fax or email LAFCo and ask them to support the staff agricultural mitigation guidelines, and to deny the
Emmanuel Abuello, LAFCo Clerk, and request that he distribute your comments to all the LAFCo Commissioners.
Fax: (408) 295-1613
2. Please send a copy of your message to CGF so we can track our efforts on this issue:
Fax (650) 968-8431 or
To learn more,
read the LAFCo staff report on agricultural mitigation.
Thanks for speaking up for open space. Your voice does make a difference!