At the end of WWII, California experienced tremendous population growth resulting in sporadic formation of cities and special service districts. The results of this development boom became evident as more of California's agricultural land was converted to urban uses. Premature and unplanned development created inefficient expensive systems of delivering public services using various small units of local government.
Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr., responded to this problem in 1959 by appointing the Commission of Metropolitan Area Problems. The Commission's charge was to study and make recommendations on the "misuse of land resources" and the growing complexity of overlapping, local governmental jurisdictions. The Commission's recommendations on local governmental reorganization were introduced in the Legislation in 1963, resulting in the creation of Local Agency Formation Commissions, or "LAFCO", operating in each county.
The law under which LAFCOs conduct business is contained in Government Code Section 56000 et. seq., and is now known and referred to as the "Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Reorganization Act of 2000. This reflects the amendment to the prior versions of the law, through the passage of AB 2838.