By Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
The Garden Grove City Council reluctantly voted to pay the state $8 million to save their redevelopment agency back in July, but a recent lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of this process has stalled their ability to move forward with new projects.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting the city leaders unanimously decided to prepare for two possible outcomes of the pending lawsuit, not expected to be resolved until mid-January. The decisions both named the city as the “successor agency” to assume the responsibility of getting current projects completed if the bills do not survive litigations and approved the agreement to transfer tax increment’s to keep the redevelopment agency going if the bills are approved.
The California Supreme Court agreed to accept a lawsuit filed by the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association on Aug. 15, challenging the constitutionality of bills ABx1 26 and ABx1 27. Even though Garden Grove has signed on to pay the fee and keep their Redevelopment Agency intact, they are now forced to prepare for the possibility of this option being taken away if the bills are ruled unconstitutional, according to a staff report.
“Redevelopment has a negative connotation,” Senior Project Manager Jim DellaLonga said. “A lot of people don’t realize what areas have been redeveloped and how much it has done for the city since the 1970s.”
Each member of the Garden Grove City Council has voiced their negative opinions on being forced to redirect millions of dollars annually to the state to continue redevelopment, but unanimously they have agreed this is the best option for the city in previous council meetings.
Areas where redevelopment funds have been applied include the Harbor Corridor Entertainment District, the Garden Grove Boulevard commercial area and the Brookhurst/Chapman streets. Current projects threatened if redevelopment is abolished are predominantly planned for the Harbor Boulevard resort area just south of Disneyland.
Also Tuesday night, Garden Grove amended the General Plan Land Use Policy Map and establishing new mixed-use zones to remain consistent with the General Plan approved in 2008.
Some members of the community spoke out against the zone changes during the public hearings, where several residents accused the city council of not considering public needs and making decisions to benefit their own financial and political success.
A lack of consideration for open green space, adequate parking and increased traffic congestion were listed as some negative impacts of this rezoning that allows for more mixed-use areas in the city.
Once again this shows that city manager and staff puts themselves and the developers before the residents of the city who they are supposed to be working for,” resident Verla Lambert said.
The council approved the zoning 3-0 with the exception of the west side of Garden Grove to be considered at another meeting. Mayor Bill Dalton and Councilmember Bruce Broadwater were absent for the vote.