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County Panel Approves Cityhood Election : Incorporation: Commission finds proposed city financially feasible. Election possible in spring.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Los Angeles County agency on Wednesday found that Hacienda Heights could support itself and recommended a cityhood election, possibly in the spring, for the unincorporated East San Gabriel Valley community.

The county Local Agency Formation Commission agreed with an October report by its staff that the 12 1/2-square-mile area would yield $2.2 million a year more in sales and property taxes and fees than it would need to spend on services. The proposed city, which would have an estimated population of 68,292, is along the Pomona Freeway between the City of Industry and La Habra Heights.

The proposal for an incorporation election now goes to the County Board of Supervisors, but no date has been set for a vote. Opponents can submit written protests until the hearing date. If more than 50% of the 22,764 registered voters in the proposed incorporation area submit written protests, the board must deny a cityhood election.

An election could be scheduled as early as April 14, said Michi Takahashi, executive assistant to the commission.

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The approved area excludes 600 vacant acres east of the Puente Hills Landfill from the proposed city’s boundaries. The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, which own the landfill and the adjacent property, want to expand the dump into the property.

Area residents want to block the expansion and believe they would have a better chance of doing so if the land were in a city.

“We’re delighted we’re going to be a city but disappointed about the landfill, of course,” said cityhood proponent Carol Mauceri.

LAFCO also excluded several other areas that cityhood proponents had wanted to include. Those areas are owned by Rose Hills Mortuary, Unocal Land & Development Co. and Chevron Land & Development Co. Spokeswomen for the latter two said that their companies are separately building about 1,500 luxury homes north of Whittier and that incorporation might complicate their plans.

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Leaders of the incorporation drive said that even without the landfill they are pleased that they are one step closer to a goal that has eluded them for almost 10 years.

In 1982, shortly before an incorporation election was to be scheduled, an anti-cityhood group discovered that some signatures on a cityhood petition had been forged. Three years later, a fledgling incorporation drive fell apart in the midst of disagreements among cityhood leaders.

Unlike the situation nine years ago, there is no organized group opposing cityhood this time. But Charlie Gray, who led the 1982 anti-cityhood movement, said he and others are gearing up to educate residents on possible problems with incorporation.

NEXT STEP

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The proposal for an incorporation election now goes before the County Board of Supervisors. No date has been set for a vote. Opponents can submit written protests before the hearing. If more than 50% of registered voters in the proposed incorporation area submit written protests, supervisors must deny a cityhood election. If the measure goes to a public vote, a simple majority is required for passage.


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