Source: Valley Roadrunner

LAFCO reaffirms existing spheres of influence for Valley Center, Deer Springs FPDs

by Joe Naiman
Valley Roadrunner Correspondent

March 20, 2014

San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission staff conducted a periodic review of the spheres of influence for the Valley Center Fire Protection District and the Deer Springs Fire Protection District before the LAFCO board reaffirmed the existing spheres for both districts on a 6-0 vote March 3 with only one San Diego County Board of Supervisors member present and no City of San Diego representative attending.

“It was straightforward,” said LAFCO executive officer Mike Ott.

A municipal service review evaluates services and anticipated needs. A sphere of influence study determines boundaries best served by a particular agency. Updates to both the municipal service review and the sphere of influence are prerequisites to any boundary change including an annexation or consolidation, and LAFCO also periodically conducts sphere of influence updates for all districts.

The Valley Center Fire Protection District totals approximately 84 1/2 square miles. According to the San Diego Association of Governments 2012 population estimate, the district includes 16,732 residents. The Valley Center FPD was formed in 1982 to allow the volunteer fire department to obtain public funding, and the creation of the district also implemented a five-member elected board. Most of the district’s funding is obtained from voter-approved assessments. The fire district itself has two stations, including the North Wohlford Road station which utilizes California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection staffing under a contracting agreement. Two CalFire stations are within the district boundaries, and although Indian reservations are not part of fire districts the Valley Center district surrounds the San Pasqual reservation which has a fire station.

The Valley Center Fire Protection District sphere of influence is actually smaller than the district itself, since some parts of the district are within the City of Escondido’s sphere. LAFCO initially adopted the district’s sphere of influence in 1984, and in 1993 438-acre and 456-acre parcels were transferred to the City of Escondido. The Valley Center sphere was reaffirmed in May 2007 when LAFCO conducted a sphere of influence study for all fire protection districts in the county and in August 2007 when LAFCO conducted a review for all districts in the county.

The Deer Springs Fire Protection District also has a sphere of influence smaller than the district with both City of Escondido and City of San Marcos sphere land covering part of the Deer Springs district. The 44.16-mile Deer Springs district has a population of 12,039 according to the 2012 SANDAG estimate. It was formed in 1981 and derives approximately 72 percent of its revenues from voter-approved special assessments. A contract with CalFire provides for staffing of the district’s three stations, and CalFire itself has a station within the district boundaries.

The initial Deer Springs Fire Protection District sphere was adopted in 1983, and the following year approximately two square miles were transferred to the Vista Fire Protection District sphere. In October 2011 15.55 acres were annexed to the City of Escondido as a condition of a development.