Shunned by the City Council four years ago, Aegean Hills was embraced by the city Monday night as council members voted to annex the unincorporated community of 7,000.
The council's action signaled the end of a dispute with the county over how to distribute tax revenue from Aegean Hills. The two sides recently came to an agreement over how to split the tax funds, and county supervisors are expected to give their approval.
Unlike 1988, when a largely different council turned down the annexation on a 3-2 vote, council members on Monday were eager to make Aegean Hills part of Mission Viejo.
"We are fully ready to welcome Aegean Hills with open arms," said Councilman Robert D. Breton. "These people attend the same churches as us and the same schools."
The annexation must still be approved by Aegean Hills residents, but no serious opposition has surfaced in the past year.
Currently unincorporated, Aegean Hills is bordered by the Interstate 5 freeway on the west and Mission Viejo to the east. Its north-south borders are La Paz Road and Los Alisos Boulevard.
The addition of the pie-shaped community would increase the population of Mission Viejo to about 80,000 people.
The proposed annexation must be approved by the Local Agency Formation Commission, a local agency that regulates municipal land deals. Then, Aegean Hills residents will get a chance to express their preference in a public hearing.
Monday night, nobody was smiling wider than Councilman Robert A. Curtis, a former Aegean Hills resident who was once the target of a recall election because of his support of the annexation.
The merger of the two communities was once opposed by the Mission Viejo Co., the developer of the planned community. The company spent $273,000 to fund an attempt to recall Curtis that failed in February, 1989.
"I'm thrilled (over the council's approval Monday) because after six or seven years of uphill struggle, at long last we will be giving Aegean Hills residents a chance to vote on this matter," Curtis said.