Objections by a handful of residents has pushed back the vote on a cityhood proposal for Laguna Niguel from June until November, county officials announced Tuesday.
The county Board of Supervisors, in a relatively routine action, had been expected to adopt a recommendation by the county Local Agency Formation Commission and place the incorporation matter on the June 6 ballot. But Tuesday, in a letter to each of the five supervisors, Jim Colangelo, LAFCO’s executive director, requested that a public hearing and vote on the Laguna Niguel cityhood proposal be delayed after 10 residents petitioned LAFCO to reconsider.
By law, Colangelo said, LAFCO must hold a hearing to discuss the residents’ concerns before the supervisors can take action. But April 5 is the earliest such a hearing can be held, too late to qualify the cityhood measure for the June ballot. The cutoff for qualifying for the June ballot is this Friday.
“The next opportunity to put the matter to a vote is now Nov. 7,” Colangelo said. “We didn’t have much choice. We are required to listen to those people and their concerns.”
A city of Laguna Niguel would have 38,000 residents and would cover about 9,000 acres. It would be wedged between the cities of San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point and Mission Viejo, largely west of the San Diego Freeway.
The request for reconsideration came from residents in the Bear Brand Ranch community, a 132-acre development of large, custom homes in the foothills above San Juan Capistrano. The area would become part of Laguna Niguel under the incorporation proposal, but several residents want the proposed city boundaries to be redrawn, leaving Bear Brand Ranch in unincorporated county territory, Colangelo said.