Company: Incorporation possible

HB Independent

Sunset Beach's prospects of becoming a city look more encouraging after a 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, 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 7 tonight at the community lot at 12th Street and North Pacific Avenue. 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 strip of lawn between North and South Pacific avenues — remain with the county.

Incorporating the beach and green belt, Griffin said, could prove costly 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 whether to go to the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission and submit an application to incorporate, board member Timothy McCormack said.

Carolyn Emery, the commission's assistant executive officer who is overseeing Sunset Beach, said she planned to meet today with representatives from Willdan and the community. If Sunset Beach files to incorporate, the commission will do its own analysis and put the issue on an upcoming general election ballot.

"With everything running smoothly, if Sunset Beach filed in the next couple months, we'd likely be looking at next year some time or even the following year," Emery said.

She added that the commission had not taken a position on whether Sunset Beach should incorporate.

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