Weary of the battle between residents of Laguna Niguel and Dana Point/Capistrano Beach over possession of the Monarch Bay coastline, Supervisor Thomas F. Riley has resigned from the Local Agency Formation Commission.
Both of the proposed cities want the coastal strip, home of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and the five-member commission has been beset by the competing claims.
Riley's district, which extends from Costa Mesa to San Clemente, includes all the areas involved in the dispute. As a result, he said Saturday, he has been besieged by constituents.
"It was a no-win situation for me," Riley said. "My constituents didn't separate the two responsibilities of an LAFC member and member of the Board of Supervisors."
LAFC, which decides the boundaries of new cities, consists of two supervisors, two city officials and one member of the public. Riley is actually an alternate member, filling in either for Supervisor Roger R. Stanton or Gaddi H. Vasquez. Supervisor Harriet Wieder and former Supervisor Bruce Nestande resigned from the commission last year.
"Somehow, people on both sides felt I had to make a decision in their favor," Riley said. "I can be more responsive to my constituents as a supervisor than wearing a dual hat."
Residents of Laguna Niguel complain that their proposed city will be landlocked if LAFC awards Monarch Bay to Dana Point/Capistrano Beach. Supporters of the Dana Point/Capistrano Beach coastal proposal have worried that without the Ritz-Carlton, the financial viability of the new city might be threatened.
In a Nov. 3 advisory election ordered by LAFC, residents of the coastal strip voted on the issue, and 65.5% favored joining Dana Point over Laguna Niguel. Inland residents of Laguna Niguel questioned the validity of the vote, since they were not allowed to participate.