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Annex bid is dealt setback

Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission votes down extension of country club into Newport Beach.

April 09, 2008|By Brianna Bailey

County officials Tuesday rejected the pleas of residents of the unincorporated South of Mesa Drive neighborhood to extend an application that would allow the neighborhood and nearby Santa Ana Country Club to be annexed by Newport Beach.

“It’s just wrong in a democracy to see a citizen’s group be treated so disrespectfully,” said Cal McLaughlin, who has led Newport Beach annexation efforts in the unincorporated neighborhood. McLaughlin noted that he and his neighbors overwhelmingly wanted the area to become part of Newport Beach.

The Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission, which presides over annexations, voted down the extension 6-1.

The residents needed a tax-sharing agreement from the Orange County Board of Supervisors to move forward, and some blame County Board Chairman John Moorlach for blocking the board from voting on the agreement. Moorlach, a longtime Costa Mesa resident, has been outspoken in his belief that Costa Mesa has more of a right to the land than Newport Beach.

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“This application is expiring for one reason — John Moorlach,” said South of Mesa Drive resident John Fay. “He made the decision not to let the Board of Supervisors vote on the tax-sharing agreement.”

McLaughlin said he felt the annexation issue has unfairly been framed as a struggle for the land between Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

Moorlach said he would not stand in the way of the residents’ wishes for Newport Beach addresses if Costa Mesa officials would give their blessings to the plan — but that hasn’t happened.

Moorlach has worked for the past year on what he calls “a global solution” to resolve the annexation clashes between Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

“If the city of Costa Mesa says let it be annexed to Newport Beach, then I’m there — but I’m not there,” Moorlach said. “We will continue to work on alternative solutions.”

Costa Mesa City Manager Allan Roeder asked the commission to deny the residents’ request for an extension at the meeting.

“We ask you to deny the request you have before you,” Roeder said. “We believe, quite frankly, it is contrary to all the standards and procedures of good land use planning...but we understand it is a very emotional issue.”

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