LAFCos were created by the California Legislature in 1963 with regulatory and planning responsibilities to coordinate the timely development of local governmental agencies and their services while protecting agricultural and open-space resources. Most notably, this includes managing boundary lines by approving or disapproving proposals involving the formation, expansion, or dissolution of cities and special districts.
LAFCos also conduct studies to help inform their regulatory duties. This includes preparing municipal service reviews to evaluate the level and range of governmental services provided in the affected region in anticipation of establishing and updating cities and special districts' spheres of influence.
Markedly, spheres of influence designate the territory LAFCos believe represent the affected agencies' appropriate future jurisdictions and served areas and must be reviewed every five years. All boundary changes, such as annexations, must be consistent with the affected agencies' spheres of influence with limited exceptions. LAFCos are located in all 58 counties in California.