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A City Just For Senior Citizens

California's newest city may be its oldest.

The residents of Leisure World, a huge retirement community 50 miles south of Los Angeles, voted to incorporate Tuesday night, making it the first city in the nation for older people.

The results would remain unofficial until Wednesday morning, when about 3,000 absentee ballots could be double-checked, said Leisure World spokesman Kirk Watilo, but proponents were already celebrating their victory at one of Leisure World's five clubhouses.

The average age at Leisure World is 77.

Wednesday morning, the new city council was to hold its first meeting.

Activists say they have created the nation's first gated municipality strictly for senior citizens.

The 15,489 registered voters also elected to rename the city Laguna Woods, though the gated portion will be called Leisure World at Laguna Woods.

Proponents of cityhood touted the change as a way to give this 18,000-member retirement community more control over local issues, such as long-term economic goals.

Specifically, some hope the new status will give them enough clout to stop the expansion of a nearby military base into a commercial airport.

Residents are concerned about losing sleep because the airport will operate 24 hours a day.

Opponents to cityhood feared turning the community into a place where political leaders would add bureaucratic hassle to their previous self-governing system.

The city will be run by the five-member city council, which will begin official operations March 24.