The Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) set some important goals for itself in the next few years during its strategic workshop including working with special districts on transparency and accountability, revisiting policies, and education and outreach.
LAFCO commissioners also discussed what they felt should be key elements of their mission as they seek to craft a more comprehensive mission statement reflective of future goals. In addition to their core mission of promoting efficient growth, discouraging sprawl, and preserving agriculture and open space, they proposed elements such as:
- encouraging cities & districts to take advantage of fiscally beneficial opportunities arising from regional planning
- bolstering collaboration and partnerships (e.g. to aid in finding regional solutions)
- providing better oversight (e.g. of special districts) and resources (e.g. more comprehensive municipal service reviews) to other agencies and the community
- increasing monitoring (e.g. of special districts it periodically reviews)
- strengthening policies (e.g. agricultural policies) and their authority to better fulfill their mandate
The workshop began with a presentation of the abysmal history of land use planning across the county (and state) between 1950 and 1980 which brought about the creation of LAFCO. It served as a valuable reminder of the continuing need for LAFCO to uphold its critical role of ensuring orderly growth most notably in the southern part of the county. Development pressure continues to threaten the majority of the irreplaceable farmlands there and thus the capacity for – and sustainability of – local food production in the county.
All in all, LAFCO had a productive goal setting workshop. One which we hope will bear fruit.