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Finally, a welcome for Santa Ana Heights

July 27, 2003

You may not be able to go home again, but as residents of Santa Ana

Heights discovered this month, if you wait long enough, a new home

might come to you.

After decades and decades of waiting, lobbying and waiting some

more, Santa Ana Heights, along with Bay Knolls and nine homes known

as the Emerson Tract, officially became part of Newport Beach on July

1. With the change of address, the city's 1,250 new residents should

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find, comes more than just the cachet of being in Newport.

There will be more street sweeping. Residents will have an easier

commute to deal with permits and other municipal business (just a

swing past the Back Bay to Newport Beach City Hall instead of over to

Santa Ana). They will enjoy Newport police service to go along with

the fire service that has been provided for years.

As city officials say: Not much will change, but what does will be

for the better.

The most important carry-over: Santa Ana Heights will still be all

about horses. Newport Beach officials have no plans to alter the

area's unusual zoning that allows for stables and horse trails. And

given that Newport is a city full of communities -- Corona del Mar,

Balboa Island, the peninsula, West Newport, to name a few notable

ones -- there is no reason to doubt that the horses will be around

for the long ride. The city knows how to maintain the neighborhood

feel.

Those communities, no doubt, contribute much to the character and

culture of Newport Beach. They give the city a bigger feel: Like New

York's boroughs, Newport isn't just the sum of one part. But they

also keep it feeling smaller, as a collection of neighborhoods that

residents can embrace as their own.

Santa Ana Heights will add nicely to that mix, at the least as a

counter-balance to the harbor. It should be a happy, lasting

marriage.

Now, next on the list: western Santa Ana Heights and homes near

Mesa Drive.

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