Saying the two communities' "eclectic life styles" would complement each other, Laguna Beach Mayor Neil Fitzpatrick on Wednesday said his city is seriously considering a proposal to annex the neighboring, but unincorporated, beach community of South Laguna.
On Tuesday night, the Laguna Beach City Council by a 5-0 vote asked City Manager Kenneth Frank to study the financial impact of a merger and report back by April 7.
The move came after about 50 South Laguna residents pleaded with the council Tuesday to annex their community. For if they cannot join with Laguna Beach, some South Laguna leaders say, they face what they consider to be a much worse fate--being absorbed into the large, newly forming and mostly inland city of Laguna Niguel, which is expected to receive permission to incorporate later this year.
Fitzpatrick applauded the annexation idea. "We've always been happy being friends, and now South Laguna feels compelled to make a decision," he said. "With their rather eclectic life style and architecture, maybe there's a bit of the bohemian left in Laguna Beach and in South Laguna" that would benefit by a merger.
For all the optimism, in 1982 a similar move by South Laguna residents to join Laguna Beach failed. The county Local Agency Formation Commission, which governs such annexations, rejected the move because too many South Laguna residents objected to it.