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SOUTH BEACH: LAKE FOREST

2 Communities' Activists Urge Reversal of Annexation OK

November 06, 1998|CHRIS CEBALLOS

Cityhood activists from Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills made a final stab at derailing the annexation of 1,502 acres to Lake Forest late Wednesday.

The Foothill Ranch Civic Council formally asked the county Local Agency Formation Commission to reconsider last month's unanimous decision approving the annexation.

The annexation would include the Foothill Ranch Towne Centre, a shopping center that provides about $2 million in sales taxes annually that would have been the financial foundation of the proposed city of Foothill Ranch.

Lake Forest City Manager Bob Dunek said he wasn't surprised by the civic council's action and he is confident that the commission will reaffirm the city's right to annex the Towne Centre, a part of the city's sphere of influence.

"We feel that LAFCO made a well-informed decision," Dunek said. "We feel that all the relevant information was covered in the first meeting."

The City Council was to consider any formal protests from property owners within the annexation area on Wednesday--a final step in the annexation process--but it has postponed that hearing to allow for the commission reconsideration.

Foothill Ranch Civic Council members said most residents in the foothill communities are still angered by the commission decision, which all but ended any chance for incorporation.

"Self-determination is the issue," said council member Elizabeth Smith. "This is what people are disturbed about; we have no say."

Council Vice President Sharon Hankins said that if the annexation is reaffirmed, she would like the final stipulation of LAFCO's decision, the formation of a committee to consider future annexations, met before the process is finalized.

"Lake Forest needs to take this time to come up to and talk to the communities," Hankins said. "We want more of a guarantee that our concerns are going to be addressed."

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