By Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
The Garden Grove City Council held a public hearing Tuesday to move forward in establishing a Garden Grove Tourism Improvement District at the request of representatives from Garden Grove hotels along Harbor Boulevard.
There were no written protests against establishing the Tourism Improvement District, but several Garden Grove residents spoke against forming the TID, saying that it would take away from the city’s individuality and further cluster Garden Grove hotels in with the expanding Anaheim hotel district.
“If Garden Grove can afford to do this I would like to see a plan for the restaurant and shops on Main Street like this one. They are also in a redevelopment area. I would like to see my tax dollars shared over the whole city of Garden Grove,” resident of 53 years, Verla Lambert said.
Despite the opposition, the council voted 5-0 to implement the district.
The Tourism District will separate Garden Grove into two zones adding a tax of 2.5 percent per night to hotels in tier one, North of Lampson Avenue and .05 percent per night for hotels in tier two, south of Lampson Avenue. There are currently no hotels in tier two.
The reason for a higher tax in Tier I is because the hotels will be located closer to Disneyland, City Manager Matthew Fertal said. The money generated will go primarily towards marketing efforts with about 20 percent funding specific improvements in Garden Grove’s hospitality industry.
“Are all of our trees are going be like the ones at Disneyland too, so people don’t realize they have left Anaheim and are in a different city,” Garden Grove resident Peggy Bergin said. “Are we going to lose our identity more then we want to already?”
The TID will add a tax onto visitors’ hotel fee for each night they stay in a Garden Grove hotel, the staff report said.
The tax would include hotels and motels from Harbor Boulevard to Garden Grove Boulevard and is projected to bring in $2 million annually to the new district.
Bergin said she recently had a friend who stayed at the Crowne Plaza Anaheim Resort in Garden Grove and said she would never stay overnight in Garden Grove again because of all the added taxes on top of the fee the hotel originally quoted her.
It is not anticipated the city will incur significant direct costs and the tax will affect visitors only, not locals, according to the report.
Nearby cities such as Irvine, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach have recently passed TID’s according to the Anaheim/ Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau.
Also at the city council meeting, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) stopped by to give a legislative update on how Congress has been implementing policies that directly affect Garden Grove.
Loan modifications to help small businesses qualify and receive smaller loans, aid for the unemployed to continue making their house payments and the $2.2 billion granted to begin constructing the high-speed rail from Orange County to San Francisco were all mentioned by Sanchez.
The high-speed rail will begin construction next year and is expected to generate 57,000 jobs, many of which will go to Orange County residents, Sanchez said.
The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 2 election is Oct. 18, for information visit http://www.ocvote.com/.