Lawsuit over Sunset Beach annexation to go before judge this week

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Susan Valot/KPCC

Sunset Beach is an unicorporated pocket of Orange County that stretches about one mile along Pacific Coast Highway and is only about three blocks wide.

A group in Sunset Beach doesn’t want the unincorporated Orange County community annexed by neighboring Huntington Beach. They’re suing to stop it. The case goes before a Superior Court judge tomorrow.

Annexation without a vote can happen under the rules for unincorporated “pockets” – unless a new tax is involved. The Citizen’s Association of Sunset Beach says there is: Huntington Beach’s 5 percent utility tax.

They say it constitutes a new tax for Sunset Beach residents – so they should get a vote on annexation. Huntington Beach says the tax is not new; it’s just being applied throughout the city’s new boundaries.

A judge will decide whether to halt the annexation until the Citizen’s Association’s lawsuit works its way through the courts.

Association members want to stop annexation in part because they’re afraid it’ll change the character of their sleepy beach town. Sunset Beach supporters of annexation say they don’t think it’ll change, even if it’s part of Huntington Beach.

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