Sunset Beach to Ride Off Into the Sunset?

For 105 years, Sunset Beach has literally been an island onto itself. That may change Wednesday after the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission meets.

The panel is scheduled to decide whether the unincorporated beachside community—which is roughly situated on 85 acres of land between Bolsa Chica State Beach, the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station and Huntington Harbour—would be better served if the City of Huntington Beach provided public services.

If the commission decides the answer is yes, that could eventually lead to 200,000-plus person strong Surf City swallowing up Sunset, whose city limit signs indicated a population of 1,288 in 2007.

Being annexed into Huntington Beach wouldn't be all bad. The city police department could arguably outdo the county's lone sheriff's deputy assigned to Sunset, which also relies on a volunteer fire department and sanitation district. Currently there is no residential mail delivery there. Residents must schlep to post office boxes.

However, some old-timers believe this is all part of their town's small-town charm. They see a Huntington Beach that is hellbent on becoming an international travel destination. To city leaders that has meant stuccoing over the sandy, the funky and what-the-helly and replacing them with towering monster resorts that have sucked away the town's former beach-soaked soul.

The sandy, the funky and the what-the-helly are the glue that holds Sunset Beach together. When you consider some civic leaders view the Waterfront Hilton as progress and the Golden Bear as a welcome relic of the past, well, you begin to understand what spooks some Sunset Beachers. The thing is, if the commission backs the change, Huntington Beach could eventually annex Sunset Beach over their shouted objections. Talk about annexation without representation! Where are those goddamn teabaggers!

The Local Agency Formation Commission meeting begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the county's Hall of Administration, 10 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana. Phone (714) 834-2556 for information.

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