Local Agency Formation Commissions are county-by-county agencies that regulate local government boundaries (cities, school districts, water districts, etc.) on behalf of the California Legislature.
Applications for changes (or additions, such as new cities) are submitted to the respective county's LAFCO, whose role is to ensure compliance with state laws. In the case of Santa Clarita cityhood,
proponents envisioned a 90-square mile city that included Castaic, the Magic Mountain amusement park and various large, undeveloped parcels — some of which, e.g. Stevenson Ranch, were
already going through the county approval process. The LAFCO for L.A. County trimmed the proposal to 39.5 square miles, excizing the large swaths of raw land.
The city of Santa Clarita has subsequently grown its boundaries through LAFCO-approved annexations of some of those areas after they were developed.
Note: Carl Boyer III was chairman of the
Formation Committee until he decided to become a candidate for the first City Council, at which time Art Donnelly succeeded him as chairman. Commmittee member Mike Kotch was a Castaic resident who
led the effort to include his community in the new city.
Carl Boyer, Chairman, City of Santa Clarita Formation Committee
Arthur Donnelly, Vice Chairman
Connie Worden, Vice Chairman
Michael Kotch, Strategic Planning
The proposed city of Santa Clarita, a topographically distinct, beautiful valley of populous canyons, steep mountainous ridges and flood plains, is a microcosm of everywhere, offering a diversity of housing and life styles from equestrian estates and comfortable tract homes to compact condominiums and apartments at prices generally lower than in the San Fernando Valley. The rapidly expanding industrial parks, corporate center and commercial development demonstrate the area's importance in the Southern California marketplace. The pride of citizens and their community involvement is evidenced by the presence of more than 150 service clubs and organizations as well as more than sixty churches, synagogues and places to worship. Nearly 50 percent of the labor force in the Santa Clarita Valley is employed locally.
Today the valley has become the fastest growing sector of Los Angeles County. The residential development is balanced by industrial and commercial expansion, and the inventory of properties available or thought to be desirable for future use is extensive. This attractive area today houses a population of 106,000. This is conservatively projected to exceed 200,000 in thirteen years.
The geographic separation of the Santa Clarita Valley from the San Fernando Valley and the basin area of Los Angeles has engendered a unique valley-wide community spirit encompassing Castaic, Newhall, Saugus, Valencia and canyon country. Commonalities and the spirit of togetherness have been manifested many times.
The cityhood effort was initiated by both local chambers of commerce who formed a committee to study incorporation in response to inquiries from citizens about the advantages of local government. This study committee evolved into the feasibility committee which circulated petitions securing signatures from more than 25 percent of the registered voters in the area, in excess of 15,500 signatures. Information meetings were held with homeowners groups, service clubs, business and industrial associations, boards of realtors and the community at large. A tremendous interest in self-determination through incorporation has been generated.
The time has come to ask that serious consideration be given to this application to form the city of Santa Clarita.
The primary reason for seeking to incorporate is to obtain local government which would be more accessible, responsive to the needs of citizens, and tailored to meet the special identity of this valley. This is not a stop growth effort. Members of the city committee, residents and groups throughout the area recognize the need for quality growth, realize the opportunities inherent in supporting a well-balanced valley with adequate industrial, commercial and residential expansion. Proponents accept the concomitant need to allow quality, planned development as a viable means of financing much-needed infrastructure.
Twice before this area sought self-government. By local majorities of 57 percent and 62 percent the area voted in 1976 and 1978 to form its own county. Those efforts were unsuccessful in convincing the balance of the county to approve local government attempts.
We are one valley, one community possessing a cohesive "community spirit." is this a radical proposal? No. Eighty-four times previously cities have incorporated in Los Angeles County alone. The proposed size offers the best opportunity for economies of scale and coherent planning. This is a new era, one which demands bold solutions, and yet the concept of cityhood is in keeping with the very essence of the basic desire for self-government in this country.
As advocates we want to protect and preserve the quality of life in Santa Clarita while encouraging well planned growth within a framework of fiscal responsibility. We are committed to doing everything that will improve the values and quality of this unique valley.
LW3071: Collection of Connie Worden-Roberts. Download pdf here