Sunset pursues cityhood plan

HB Independent

Sunset Beach will push forward with its plan to become a city after an encouraging report from a financial consultant, the president of the seaside neighborhood's de facto governing board said.

Greg Griffin, the president of the Sunset Beach Community Assn., said he has seen a preliminary version of the report by Willdan Financial Services, a company the association hired in November to determine the feasibility of Sunset Beach incorporating. The results were promising, Griffin said.

"The whole report is that Sunset has the financial horsepower to become its own city," he said.

The association plans to host a meeting at the community lot at 12th Street and North Pacific Avenue at 7 p.m. Thursday, with food served a half hour earlier. According to Griffin, Willdan will present three scenarios for incorporating: one in which the entire neighborhood incorporates, one in which the beach remains under county control, and one in which the beach and "green belt" — a lengthy strip of lawn between North and South Pacific avenues — remain with the county.

Incorporating the beach and green belt, Griffin said, could prove costly to residents due to maintenance and lifeguards.

"It costs money to maintain the green belt, and it takes money to maintain the beach, the beach being about five times more expensive to maintain than the green belt," he said.

The association's board plans to vote at its next meeting on whether to go to the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission and formally submit an application to incorporate, board member Timothy McCormack said.

The commission put Sunset Beach under Huntington Beach's sphere of influence in July. Soon after, the association filed a notice of intent to petition with the commission. Griffin and others began circulating petitions among residents earlier this year, needing at least 25% of Sunset's landowners or registered voters to support incorporation.

So far, Griffin said, nearly 50% of residents have supported the effort.

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