The Local Agency Formation Commission voted unanimously Thursday to allow the City of Goleta’s application for detachment from the Goleta West Sanitary District to proceed to a hearing of merit in December.
Goleta West’s attorney, Steven Amerikaner, had filed letters asking LAFCO to consider that Goleta’s February 2009 application had taken too long and was incomplete.
The commission’s seven members dismissed those concerns and scheduled a hearing for Dec. 2 in Santa Barbara.
“We think up to this point (the process) has been neither timely or fair,” Amerikaner said.
Twenty months later, the district maintains that Goleta has a lot of unanswered questions in its application, and that the process has lingered for too long.
“We are very pleased that the commission has deemed our application as active and complete. We will continue to work alongside the commission staff to provide any additional information and address any questions,” Mayor Eric Onnen said in a news release. “In the long run, full disclosure of the information is the best way for our residents and businesses to be served.”
GWSD General Manager Mark Nation said the district feels “held hostage” by the situation since the process has been taking so long and the outcome remains uncertain.
Goleta City Manager Dan Singer requested that the hearing be scheduled for February to allow adequate time to issue notices and for more discussions with the county, but LAFCO said there’s no reason to delay the hearing until next year.
He assured the board that the city is eager to cooperate and provide any additional information necessary.
Because of the complexity of the issue, it’s doubtful a decision would be made after one day’s hearing, especially since LAFCO may ask for additional information from the City of Goleta or the Goleta West Sanitary District.