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The Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 governs annexation of unincorporated areas to a City. Annexation is a reorganization that changes the governmental authority from one jurisdiction (the County) to another (the City). The Kings County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) reviews and approves annexation requests. For more information regarding LAFCO, please visit their website.
An unincorporated “island” is a relatively small pocket of land currently served by the Kings County, but substantially surrounded by the City of Hanford. Generally, in accordance with Section 56375.3 of the Government Code, LAFCO characterizes an “island” as follows:
a. the land is substantially surrounded by a city, is substantially developed or developing, is not prime agricultural land, is designated for urban growth in the city’s general plan, and is not within the Sphere of Influence of another city, and
b. the land is located within an urban service area designated by the LAFCO, is not prime agricultural land, and is designated for urban growth in the city’s general plan, and
c. the land area does not exceed 150 acres.
Although islands are completely or substantially surrounded by a city, they remain under the land use and service authority of the County. The State Legislature determined that the continued existence of these islands created problems for cities, counties, island residents, adjacent city residents, and various agencies and special districts responsible for providing services and facilities. Consequently, the State modified the procedures to encourage cities to undertake island annexations by limiting the due process otherwise afforded other types of annexations.
In 1999, the California Legislature adopted AB 1555 (codified in Government Code Section 56375.3) that encouraged cities to annex small unincorporated islands. The law allows cities to annex islands without protest proceedings or elections, provided the island meets special criteria. By law, LAFCO must approve an annexation request submitted by a city if all of the criteria mentioned in Question #2 above are satisfied.
All islands proposed to be annexed by the City of Hanford satisfy the specified criteria; therefore, protest proceedings are not required.