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SB 244- Planning for Unincorporated Disadvantaged Communities

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SB 244 (Wolk, 2011) requires cities and counties to address the infrastructure needs of unincorporated disadvantaged communities in city and county general plans and LAFCo Municipal Service Reviews (MSRs) and annexation decisions.  SB 244 defines an unincorporated disadvantaged community as a place that meets the following criteria:

  • contains 10 or more dwelling units in close proximity to one another;
  • is either within a city SOI, is an island within a city boundary, or is geographically isolated and has existed for more than 50 years; and
  • has a median household income that is 80 percent or less than the statewide median household income.

For cities and counties, SB 244 requires that before the due date for adoption of the next housing element after January 1, 2012, the general plan land use element must be updated to: identify unincorporated disadvantaged communities; analyze for each identified community the water, wastewater, stormwater drainage, and structural fire protection needs; and identify financial funding alternatives for the extension of services to identified communities.

For LAFCos, SB 244 prohibits approval of city annexations greater than 10 acres that are contiguous to a disadvantaged unincorporated community unless the city applies to annex the disadvantaged unincorporated community as well.  This requirement is not applicable if an application to annex the disadvantaged unincorporated community had been made during the prior five years or if a majority of residents in that community are opposed to the annexation. After July 1, 2012, LAFCos must consider the present and future need for public facilities and services by disadvantaged unincorporated communities for any city or district updating their SOI and which provides public sewer, municipal and industrial water, or structural fire protection facilities or services.  LAFCos must also include considerations of disadvantaged unincorporated communities within a city or district SOI in statements of written determinations of MSRs.

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