UPDATE: As expected, the Huntington Beach City Council voted Monday night to annex Sunset Beach (updates throughout) . . .
What's apparently Orange County's marijuana capital is one step closer to being part of Huntington Beach, which takes a dim view of the devil's weed. (At least officially; it's pretty much a draw among the unwashed masses.)
Surf City's City Council voted 5-2 last night to annex the 85-acre, unincorporated, 106-year-old community of Sunset Beach.
Until last week, Sunset Beach had most been known for its retirees, that big ugly tower thing and being one of the homes for Academy Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock and greaser Jesse James, in happier times.
Now, it's apparently "Orange County's Pot City, USA."
That's what one resident's sign outside her home protests, next to one that proclaims, "No on Pot City," reports Marilyn Kalfus on the Orange County Register's Huntington Homes blog.
Inquiries by proposed medical marijuana dispensaries and the bust of an illegal pot distributor have also combined to turn sleepy Sunset Beach into reefer mad Arcata, one is left to assume after reading Kalfus' post.
Real estate agent Mike Colonna, who has reportedly fielded six different inquiries in the past couple months from people seeking to set up Sunset pot shops, tells Kalfus, "I tell them there's nothing that I know about. ... All I need are the neighbors in Sunset Beach to (think) I'm pushing it. ... That's the last thing in the world I need a reputation for. It's not my thing. I don't need the aggravation."
It's obviously not the thing of homeowner Jan Auten, a former elementary schoolteacher who put up the anti-pot signage. She believes the lure of dispensaries is bringing more "street people" to tiny Sunset. "When I've had garage sales," she tells Kalfus, "I've been accosted by some really strange people, and I haven't had that before."
It was last month the sheriff's department raided an office at 17061 5th St. and confiscated buds advertised as "Bubba," "Headband," "Mendo Purple" and "Hollywood Skunk." The investigation into the business that is tied to another in Venice is continuing, investigators tell the Reg blogger.
Sunset Beach has long been home to the West Coast Patient Collective Association dispensary, which serves many of the town's older clientele, and recently opened there is Cannabis State, which teaches its mostly ill and elderly students how to buy, cook and smoke marijuana.
Huntington Beach, meanwhile, does not allow medical marijuana dispensaries.
Sunset Beach could be a part of Huntington Beach by January, according to a timeline presented by city staffers last night.
The meeting was attended by several Sunset Beach residents opposed to annexation, however.
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These were not potheads--well, at least, they were not
their there stating their opposition because of HB's buzzkilling ways. The residents believe they should be the ones deciding the community's fate, not the big, bad city trying to gobble them up.
But during the council presentation, the city shared a county analysis that found Sunset Beach probably could not afford to incorporate on its own. Meanwhile, the city stands to reap $820,000 for its ailing budget by taking in Sunset Beach.
To be honest, some of the 200 who turned out to voice their opinions on annexation were Sunset Beach residents in favor of becoming a part of Huntington Beach.
Indeed, some have pointed to Huntington Beach's outlawing of medical marijuana dispensaries as a reason, asking the city to extend the ban to Sunset Beach once the ink is dry on annexation.