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ORANGE COUNTY, CA-Efforts by Newport Beach to annex the toney but unincorporated Newport Coast area have received the approval of a key state panel.

The proposed municipal marriage was blessed by the Local Agency Formation Commission at its meeting last night. State law requires LAFCO to approve all annexation and secession requests.

Few Orange County residents have challenged the annexation. Supporters say it would result in better municipal services at lower cost for current Newport Coast residents, while Newport Beach would collect an additional $2 million a year in tax revenue if the takeover is allowed to move forward.

As part of the plan approved by LAFCO last night, the 7,000 residents and businesses in Newport Coast would keep their prized 92657 ZIP Code. They also will remain part of County Supervisor Tom Wilson’s district, even though the rest of Newport Beach will join Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa in the district overseen by Supervisor Jim Silva.

LAFCO’s approval clears the way for the annexation to be completed early next year, unless 25% of local registered voters sign a petition to call for a public vote on the issue. No such petition is expected, Orange County officials say.

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