Seal Beach Annexation

Happy Birthday, Sarah!!

Shortly after starting my role as County Supervisor, I had a joint breakfast with Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe.  One of the many topics we covered was the potential of swapping certain parcels among ourselves, like trading deed cards in the game of Monopoly.  There was agreement to pursue this as Long Beach has a park in Los Alamitos, La Palma has a park in Cerritos, etc. 

With this “green light,” the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) staff prepared an excellent analysis, “Orange/Los Angeles County Boundary Report—Revised June 11, 2008,” that provided an initial overview of potential adjustments to the county boundaries.  See http://oclafco.org/OC.LA.Boundary.Report.htm.

When Orange County split off from Los Angeles County in 1889, Coyote Creek became the boundary.  The Coyote Creek Channel is a major tributary of the San Gabriel River.  Over the years, many improvements to the channel have been carried out and it is these improvements which have, in some areas, created the boundary issues addressed in the Report.

The idea was:  if adjoining LA and OC cities wished to clean up some of the identified boundary snafus, then our LAFCO and Board of Supervisors and, hopefully, the LA LAFCO and Board of Supervisors, would be willing to assist in accomplishing it. 

It would be their choice.  We would stand ready to facilitate.  This is not a cram down.  It’s an opportunity to address long-term, festering issues.

After the issuance of the Boundary Report and some initial reactions, those on the northern side of the boundary froze up.  After all, change is not easy.   We’ll have to see how the Island Village Community fares to see if we will proceed or discontinue this mutual attempt at rectifying lingering border issues.

Gated neighborhood asks to be annexed to Seal Beach

A separate proposal to move border in 21 areas in Orange County and L.A. may be reduced, officials say.

By JAIMEE LYNN FLETCHER

The Orange County Register

SEAL BEACH– A proposal to move the Los Angeles and Orange County border in 21 areas may now affect only one small area bordered by Seal Beach and Long Beach; however a small L.A. community is seeking to be included.

About 10 residents from Island Village appealed to Seal Beach City Council members Monday asking them to consider annexing the private Long Beach community just east of the San Gabriel River.

“Geographically, we look like we’re a part of Seal Beach,” said James Fraser, a member of the Island Village Annexation Committee into Seal Beach.

The council agreed to draft a letter saying they would study the financial impacts and possibly consider annexing the 182-home private community.

“The natural order of things is for them to be a part of Seal Beach,” said Mayor Gordon Shanks.

But some residents said they wanted the city to be wary of making promises of annexation to Island Village residents.

“We don’t necessarily want to stop the process but we need to be cautious,” said resident Robert Goldberg.

However, whether or not the community would become part of Orange County is contingent on Los Angeles and Orange County supervisors.

The Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission in August 2008 proposed adjusting 21 areas along the Coyote Creek Flood Channel from Seal Beach to Brea. The proposal would affect six Orange County and five L.A. county cities if adopted.

LAFCO suggested the change because the flood channel has shifted over time, altering the counties’ border. There are also some neighborhoods, shopping centers and apartment complexes that are cut in half by the existing border, officials said.

Los Angeles Supervisor Don Knabe, whose district stretches the length of the O.C./L.A. border, said earlier this month that he is hesitant of making the changes.

“The Board of Supervisors has no interest in proceeding with any of the other suggestions,” Seal Beach Community Development Director Lee Whittenberg said at the meeting about the Los Angeles board. “Until there is formal direction…I don’t know where else we can go.”

Of the 21 areas, Knabe said he is only interested in pursuing changes to a small area at the Long Beach and Seal Beach border, according to a Sept. 18 e-mail. The area includes part of the Long Beach Harbor and a parking lot adjacent to a Long Beach shopping center.

“The supervisor’s position was that he was not in support of arbitrarily changing the borders,” said David Sommers, communications director for Knabe’s office.

Rick Francis, chief of staff for Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, said Orange County is supportive of making border changes but it can’t be done unless L.A. and O.C. agree.

“We’re in a position that we’re supportive of that change,” Francis said. “But Knabe kind of backed off all of the other ones… I think he got a lot of opposition from residents.”

Carolyn Emery, senior project manager for LAFCO, said if the supervisors agree to let Island Village be absorbed into Orange County, her agency would push for annexation into Seal Beach.

“L.A. has to agree to let it go and O.C. has to accept it,” Emery said. “I don’t think (the O.C. Board of Supervisors) would necessarily be supportive of adding another unincorporated area within its boundaries.”

Residents of Island Village said they hope to take Seal Beach’s support to Los Angeles officials to ask to break away from the county.

“This is to give us a stronger case when we go to the county of L.A.,” said Mary Varipapa, member of the Island Village Annexation Committee into Seal Beach.

Emery said Long Beach officials have expressed support to Island Village residents.

“From the Long Beach side… a councilmember was supportive of what the residents wanted to do; if that was to remain with L.A. County or if it was to divest itself and move to Orange County,” Emery said.

Long Beach City Council members are expected to study the border issue on Oct. 13 and Los Angeles County officials are expected to draft an updated status report on border change progress by Jan. 31.

Contact the writer: 949-553-2932 or jfletcher@ocregister.com

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