Monterey County, California Fire District Decision Delayed

Hoping that an obviously divided community can come together, the Local Agency Formation Commission of Monterey County put off a decision Monday on detaching part of the Carmel Valley Fire Protection District into a separate district.

LAFCO Executive Director Kate McKenna said it would be "premature" to go ahead with a reorganization of the district when a municipal service plan for the proposed incorporated town of Carmel Valley is still in the works. A draft of that plan should be ready in the next few months, she said.

"The teamwork sounds like it's fallen apart here," said Commissioner Jim Costello, who proposed delaying a decision until the municipal service plan was finished. The commission unanimously agreed.

Denial of the detachment petition would remove the pressure on both sides to come together and work things out, said commission Chairman Lou Calcagno, and he wants to keep the pressure on.

State law sets a limit on LAFCO continuances of 70 days, so the matter will be reviewed at the commission meeting in April, and may be continued again until its July meeting if both sides are willing to accept that long a delay.