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Palmdale’s Growth Still Leads State

From <i> United Press International </i>

For the third straight year, the Mojave Desert city of Palmdale has been named the fastest growing of the 448 incorporated cities in California, a research group has found.

The second-fastest growing city is Moreno Valley in Riverside County, and third is Moorpark in Ventura County, according to a survey by the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy, in Palo Alto.

The survey also showed that the state’s most intense growth is taking place in Southern California’s deserts. The center said the Inland Empire counties of Riverside and San Bernardino were the two fastest growing counties among the 58 in the state.

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Palmdale, located about 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, grew from a population of 17,396 in 1984 to 45,859 at the end of 1988. The city has added about 3,000 residents since then.

The center said the new residents are being drawn by relatively low home prices and the area’s potential for job growth.

“We are getting a lot of home buyers who want more house for their money,” said Steve Buffalo, a spokesman for the city. An estimated 90% of new Palmdale home buyers are commuters, he said.

The city is about a 45-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles, Buffalo said. However, the drive can be much longer in traffic jams.

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Growth to Continue

Palmdale achieved the top-growth ranking based on five-year gains of 164% in population, 169% in assessed property valuation and 115% in retail sales.

City officials expect Palmdale’s growth to continue. During the first five months of this year, more than $200 million worth of building permits were issued.

That excludes a 77-acre auto mall and a 1-million-square-foot retail shopping mall, both scheduled to open in late 1990.

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Additionally, some jobs are coming to Palmdale. In April, as part of a corporate restructuring, Lockheed Corp. announced it would start transferring about 7,000 jobs from its facilities in Burbank to facilities in Palmdale and nearby Santa Clarita.

The center said Riverside County’s population grew by 33.5% between 1984 and 1988 to 1,014,800, or 80% faster than the state average.

The county also gained 50% in retail sales, 29% in jobs and 66% in assessed valuation.

Six Riverside County cities were listed among the 25 fastest growing: Moreno Valley, second; Perris, fifth; Cathedral City, eighth; Corona, 17th; Lake Elsinore, 18th and San Jacinto, 21st.

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Five San Bernardino County among the top 25 are Fontana, fourth; Victorville, ninth; Rancho Cucamonga, 12th; Adelanto, 15th and Loma Linda, 23rd.

Moorpark in Ventura County was the third-fastest growing city; San Marcos in San Diego County was the sixth fastest; Walnut, a suburb east of Los Angeles, was seventh, and Pleasanton in Alameda County was 10th.

After Riverside and San Bernardino, the fastest growing counties were Amador, Tuolumne, El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, San Diego, Calaveras and San Benito.


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