Proponents of cityhood for Saddleback Valley have begun applying for incorporation through the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (Lafco), the panel that recommends approval or denial of such proposals to the Board of Supervisors.
The proposed city would include the areas of El Toro, Lake Forest, Nellie Gail Ranch, Laguna Hills, Aegean Hills and Portola Hills.
Mission Viejo residents voted to incorporate in November.
The Saddleback application is being sponsored by the Santa Ana Mountains County Water District, which voted last week, 4-0, to support the incorporation effort.
Under state law, any public agency that would be affected by incorporation, such as a sewer or water district, is entitled to sponsor a cityhood application.
Richard T. Turner, Lafco's executive officer, said Wednesday that the proponents have filed a mandatory financial feasibility report but still need to file maps and a legal description of the area to complete the application. He said the cityhood proposal would come before Lafco as early as February.
Fearing that they could not collect the signatures of 9,400 registered voters required by Jan. 28, members of the Citizens Cityhood Committee for the Greater Saddleback Valley recently abandoned its petition drive and asked the water district to sponsor the incorporation application.
The water district serves the Portola Hills development and two other parcels within the proposed cityhood boundaries.