Local Agency Formation Commissions originated in 1963 as part of the Knox-Nisbet Act.
The role of the Commission was envisioned as an agency empowered separately from city councils and county boards of supervisors to preserve open space, encourage organized governmental services and growth, and stem sprawl and annexation controversies.
LAFCO predates most contemporary planning and land use regulations in Mariposa County. Even though the Commission was not empowered to regulate land use, it figured prominently in key legislative findings.
District Reorganization Act & Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act
The 1963 act was followed by the District Reorganization Act in 1965 and the Municipal Organization Act of 1977. Overlaps in legislation, confusion over inconsistencies in process, and a demand for a better defined LAFCO role led to the 1985 Cortese-Knox Local Government Reorganization Act. L-GRA, as it was called, consolidated the 1963, 1965, and 1977 legislation into one law.
The combination of California's housing crisis, the costs of sprawl and new infrastructure, and demands for agriculture preservation led to Assembly Speaker Hertzberg's sponsorship of a complete rewrite of LAFCO legislation. The Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (CKH 2000) establishes LAFCO as a fully independent agency separate from counties.