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MISSION VIEJO : A Vote on Annexing Aegean Hills Possible

The annexation of Aegean Hills, one of the biggest issues in the short history of the city, may be put before the voters in January.

The City Council will decide today whether to hold an advisory survey of registered voters by mail to determine whether citizens favor making Aegean Hills part of Mission Viejo.

Currently unincorporated, Aegean Hills is home to about 7,000 residents. It is bordered by the San Diego Freeway on the west and Mission Viejo to the east. Its north-south borders are La Paz Road and Los Alisos Boulevard.

For almost two years through 1989, the question of whether to annex the community divided Mission Viejo. Even after the City Council turned down the annexation in 1988, the controversy raged on, leading to a recall attempt against now-Mayor Robert A. Curtis, one of the annexation proponents.

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The annexation was strongly opposed by the Mission Viejo Co., the developer of the planned community, which pumped $273,000 into the unsuccessful campaign to unseat Curtis. Representatives of the development firm said Friday that they would wait to see a financial report being compiled by the city before deciding whether to oppose the annexation.

Curtis said that much has changed since the recall failed in February, 1989.

“There are new circumstances that one could readily cite to justify this annexation,” Curtis said. “The city is better established and can now absorb such an annexation.”

Incorporated for just over four years, the city has built up its commercial base, and with Aegean Hills property tax revenue, can support the annexation, Curtis said.

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The advisory poll, which would have a Jan. 29 deadline to return ballots, would cost about $54,000. The survey is mandated under Proposition A, a 1989 measure that requires voter approval for any proposed annexation over 100 acres.

If voters support adding the community, the council will decide whether to join Aegean Hills residents in asking the Local Agency Formation Commission to approve the annexation.

If LAFCO decides the annexation is viable, the county must then agree with the city over a transfer of property tax funds. One last step, a public hearing to listen to potential dissenting voices from Aegean Hills, would be needed before the community could become part of Mission Viejo.

Helen Monroe, former leader of the recall group against Curtis, expressed concern that the city might be taking on too much financial responsibility with the annexation of Aegean Hills. The city is now building a $17-million civic center complex.

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“My major worry is for the fiscal health of the city,” she said. “We might be biting off more than we can chew. I like to see that financial report (being compiled by the city) before I can decide on this.”


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