L.A. County to hold hearing on swapping land with Orange County to simplify the border
The effort, launched by Orange County's Board of Supervisors, is intended to simplify the border, which has left Orange County in control of small, isolated plots of land west of the San Gabriel River and Coyote Creek, while L.A. County administers some land east of the flood control channels.
The confusing arrangement causes headaches among municipalities and residents, where it can be a mystery of which city is supposed to maintain parks or sewer systems.
The two counties are moving forward first with the least controversial border changes, which all involve uninhabited land in Long Beach in L.A. County and Seal Beach, Rossmoor and Los Alamitos in Orange County. One of them would solve the unusual problem on Toland Avenue. Five residential plots straddle both counties, with the homes in Los Alamitos in Orange County but the backyards in Long Beach in L.A. County. Those homeowners have to pay property taxes to two counties, said Ben Legbandt, an Orange County policy analyst.
One particularly confusing situation, identified in 2008, left in doubt which city is responsible for the Del Amo Boulevard-La Palma Avenue bridge, which crosses Coyote Creek. "It is unclear who owns the bridge, who is responsible for maintenance, and where the exact boundary lies," the boundary report said. The bridge is located at the junction of four cities; Lakewood and Cerritos in L.A. County and La Palma and Cypress in Orange County.
In another case, La Palma is responsible for Rainbow and Bettencourt parks, even though it is on the L.A. County side of Coyote Creek. To streamline park maintenance, La Palma has contracted with the city of Cerritos in L.A. County to maintain those parks.
The root of the headache lies in the history of the creation of Orange County and subsequent flood control improvements to Coyote Creek. In 1889, state lawmakers approved Orange County's secession from Los Angeles County, with the border roughly following Coyote Creek. But subsequent improvements to change Coyote Creek from its natural state to a concrete flood channel have changed the path of the creek, leaving parts of each county on the wrong side of the channel.
Los Angeles County will hold a public hearing on the proposed border change on May 10 at 9:30 a.m. during the Board of Supervisors meeting at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration at 500 West Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles.
-- Rong-Gong Lin II at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration
Photo: An aerial view of one of the areas of the proposed border adjustment. Credit: Los Angeles County