May 30, 1996 - From the May, 1996 issue

Inside Planning: Alameda Corridor, Tax Credit Awards Announced, and more!

Around the County and Region

Development Reform 

Eight often recommendations presented by the Development Reform Committee's Fee Study Group were adopted by City Council. Among those that passed: the Council can choose to waive permit fees (a) in the event of a disaster not covered by insurance, (b) for public benefit projects (such as affordable housing); and (c) for projects in economically depressed areas. The Council also approved a recommendation to allow public benefit project developers to defer impact fees and exactions to the latest possible moment by posting surety bonds.

Referred back to PLUM for additional consideration is a controversial proposal to raise appeals fees from $64 to $150, and increase appeals fees to a maximum of $5,000 for residents living more than 500 feet from the appealed project. The goal of the proposal is to discourage frivolous appeals, and to limit the exposure of developers to drawn-out and expensive legal battles. 

Cerritos—Adult Business Zone 

A proposal to create a "zone" in which to confine adult businesses in a 31-acre industrial zone near the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway in Cerritos will be considered by the City's Planning Commission in early May. This has been an issue for the Commission for nearly two years, since the City Council placed a moratorium on all new adult businesses and asked the commissioners to come up with land use regulations that would pass a legal test. 

Community Development Bank 

The Community Development Bank (CDB) is expected to announce a new CEO (from So. California), its first loan, and the opening of a new office in mid-May. Three additional loan applications submitted through the bank's co-lending partners are on the verge of being accepted. The CDB, the nation's largest community development bank, was created with a federal Economic Development Initiative grant and matching grants from regional banks. It will make loans from $500,000 to $5 million for businesses located within a designated 12 square mile empowerment zone. 

Redevelopment Legislation 

Two new bills which would wreak havoc on redevelopment are making their way through the state legislature. Senate Bill 1626 (Kopp) would require redevelopment agencies to make in-lieu property tax payments to affected local agencies where property in a re­development agency has been kept off property tax assessment rolls for five consecutive years. 

Assembly Bill 2569 (Margett) would prohibit a redevelopment agency from acquiring property through eminent domain if the project involves the acquisition of a privately owned business for the eventual use of another privately owned business. 

Summits/Conference

A day-long summit focusing on economic and cultural renaissance in South Los Angeles, sponsored by the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency and USC, will be held at USC on May 31.

Ethnopolis is holding their fourth annual "Planning With Ethnically Diverse Communities" on May 30 in the City of Commerce.  

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Infrastructure Planning

Pacific Pipeline—The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the environmental documents for Pacific Pipeline's proposed 132-mile, $172 million oil pipeline through Los Angeles. In response, the L.A. City Council unanimously voted to request a re-hearing by PUC and challenge the pipeline in court. The City Council is concerned that alternatives, such as a Cajon-Edison pipeline alternative, which would skirt City boundaries, were not sufficiently considered by Pacific Pipeline, a consortium of oil companies.

Alameda Corridor—After many months of delays while the Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) searched for additional financing, the project is now racing toward construction. Following last month's commitment from the Clinton Administration for a $400 million financial package, the $1.8 billion, 20-mile, below-grade rail cargo-transit system between the Ports of L.A., Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles, received conditional approval in late April from the federal Surface Transportation Board.

People

TPR Publisher David Abel was appointed by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to the L.A. County Citizens Economy and Efficiency Committee. Other appointees include Michael Jiminez, Chief Administrative Officer for environmental consultants, PS Enterprises, and Rob Glushon, a partner in the law firm of Briskin and Glushon, and a member of the L.A. City Board of Zoning Appeals. Retired businessman Harry Cooper was also appointed to the Commission by Supervisor Michael Antonovich. 

Following the presentation of her 1996-97 budget, L.A. County Chief Administrative Officer Sally Reed announced her intention to take a $70k pay cut to move back to Sacramento and accept an appointment by Governor Wilson as director of the Department of Motor Vehicles. 

With the merger of UCLA's School for Public Policy and Social Research complete, the search for a new dean has narrowed to five candidates: Acting Dean Archie Kleingartner; Laura Tyson of the Clinton Administration; Mary Jo Bone with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; Barbara Nelson, Vice President at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, MA; and one unnamed candidate. A decision is expected by June.

Meanwhile respected faculty member, Marty Wachs, is leaving the School to head UC Berkeley's Transportation Institute and Professor Emeritus John Friedman is accepting a teaching position in Australia. 

L.A. Weekly journalist Gloria Ohland will head-up the new L.A. office of the Washington D.C.-based Surface Transportation Policy Project, directed by Hank Dittmar. The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has moved its headquarters to the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. 

Wesley McDaniel, Executive Director of the San Bernardino Association of Government (SBAG) is retiring from the public sector to open a regional transportation consulting practice. An interview with McDaniel will appear in the May issue of TPR's sister publication, Metro Ivestment Report. 

California suffered a great loss in the deaths of Don Terner, President of Bridge Housing in Oakland, California, and Leonord J. Pieroni, Chief Executive Officer of Pasadena-based Parsons Corp. Both died in the early April plane crash in Croatia, in which Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was also killed.

Affordable Housing and Tax Credits

Tax Credit Awards Announced—The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) is arguably the most important source of revenue for developing affordable housing. Since 1991, the program has been credited with assisting in financing over 50,000 units, or one of every five affordable units built in California. In early May, projects receiving tax credits in the first round were announced, with L.A. one of the big winners. A second tax credit round opened on May 2, and will continue until May 28.

New Tax Credit Legislation—Arguing that the Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) in recent months has caused the state's low-income tax credit program (LIHTC) to become unpredictable and unreliable, Assemblywoman Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) has authored AB 2739, which would change the structure of TCAC. 

Sponsored by the City of San Jose, the bill would change the current 2 non-voting members representing local government to voting members; would require a Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) to be adopted by November 1 for the following year; would require TCAC to allocate housing credits twice per year—the last day in February and last day in May; and adopt a procedure by which applicants may appeal staff eligibility determinations.

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