July 30, 1997 - From the July, 1997 issue

Inside Planning: School Facilities Finance Update, Pacific Pipeline Construction Begins, and more!

U.S. Conference of Mayors Meeting

The U.S. Conference of Mayors held their annual meeting last month in San Francisco, at which environmental concerns figured prominently. The U.S. Mayors adopted a resolution supporting the Clinton Administration's proposed $2 billion brownfields reuse tax credit program and expressed concern over the potential costs of proposed tighter EPA air quality standards.  

Bernardi vs. LA/CRA 

The California Supreme Court denied an appeal request by the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency last month challenging a lower court ruling that upheld the Agency's $750 million Central Business District spending cap. 

Downtown L.A. Sports Arena 

The L.A. City Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit and a proposed development agreement last month for the planned Downtown L.A. sports arena. Consideration now moves to the Council's Planning and Land Use Management committee, and then to the full City Council in August.

Burbank Redevelopment 

Last month City Council approved the 409-acre South San Fernando redevelopment project area and the Burbank Center Plan. The Burbank Center Plan includes General Plan and zon­ing code amendments designed to help transition the area from "underutilized" auto-related commercial and industrial uses to commercial, research & development, multimedia and residential uses. Officials say mixed-use development figures prominently in plans.

School Facilities Finance Update

The State Dept. of Education reports that developers fees accounted for only 12.5% of school facilities funding over the last ten years. But developers fees are proving to be the most contentious issue in the ongoing debate over how to stem projected multi-billion dollar funding shortfalls for school facilities. A series of State general obligation bonds that some legislators hope to get onto upcoming ballots could provide some relief. But more formal recommendations will come from the State Legislature's Special Committee on School Facilities Finance, probably by late Summer.

Santa Clarita—Central City Plan

Major landowners Newhall Land & Farm and the Castaic Lake Water Agency are working with the City of Santa Clarita to produce a specific plan for a 1350-acre area abutting Saugus, Newhall, Valencia and Canyon Country. Consulting firm The Planning Center has been hired to begin work on the two- to three- month first phase of the Specific Plan. Alignments of proposed roadways will be among the major issues.

Disney Hall Funding

Now 84% funded, Downtown L.A.'s planned Disney Concert Hall inched $8.36 million closer to reality this month. New donations to the $220 million project came from the L.A. Philharmonic Board, the California Community Foundation, Ed and Nadine Carson, Mrs. Henry Mancini, and several anonymous donors.

Disney Co. Buys in Glendale

Walt Disney Co. bought the San Fernando Valley's largest business park—which is already 60% Disney-occupied—for an estimated $140 million last month. The entertainment company has not gone public with its plans for the site, but Glendale Planning officials said Disney has been researching development options for the C3-zoned property.

Newhall Redevelopment

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The Santa Clarita City Council approved a redevelopment area in downtown Newhall this month. Progress stalled during three years of legal wrangling with the Castaic Lake Water Agency, which claimed redevelopment could cost it up to $29 million in tax increment shifts over 40 years. But after the City removed 56.9 key acres from the project area, the Water Agency's Board dropped its opposition to the redevelopment plan.

Pacific Pipeline Construction Begins 

Construction began this month in the Angeles National Forest on the Pacific Pipeline, which will carry crude oil from Kem County and Santa Barbara to refineries in southern L.A. County. The pipeline, 27 miles of which will run under the City of Los Angeles, will be constructed in five segments and could be operational by March, 1998.

L.A. Council District 7 Redevelopment 

Five consultants responded to an RFP to develop a strategic plan for the proposed redevelopment area encompassing most of Richard Alarcon's Council District 7. The Community Redevelopment Agency is expected to name a finalist within the next 60 days.

El Toro-New Homes Approved

The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Mission Viejo Co.'s request to build up to 1,825 residential units where homes had once been banned because of jet noise from El Toro Marine base. The County Airport Land Use Commission had rejected the proposal in light of possible future conversion of the base to a commercial airport. But they were overruled by the Board of Supervisors. Construction can begin immediately on two of three approved sites.

Alameda Corridor Trade Center

Lowe Enterprises has broken ground on the 20-acre Alameda Trade Center—Downtown L.A.'s only Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)—at the north end of the Alameda Corridor. Mayor Riordan's support figured heavily in winning the project's coveted FTZ status, which benefits companies involved in import and export. Completion is expected in the year 2000. 

Alatorre Wants Action From County on El Pueblo's Unsafe Buildings 

L.A. City Councilman Richard Alatorre—undaunted by recent allegations of wrongdoing—introduced a motion early this month to urge the County either to restore or demolish the so-called Antique Block near Olvera Street. The Antique Block's buildings were not included in the 1990 transfer of most of the historic El Pueblo buildings to the City of Los Angeles. Alatorre says that in their current derelict, unsecured condition, the buildings represent a threat to public safety. 

Van Nuys—GM Site Groundbreaking 

Voit Cos. and Selleck Development Group plan groundbreaking within three months on their retail/industrial project slated for the site of the old General Motors plant in Van Nuys. Babies R Us, Home Depot, Ross Dress for Less, and Office Max have all signed on as tenants. Still in question, though, is 600,000 s.f. of industrial space, where Inglewood-based Marvin Engineering Company is said to be considering consolidating its Southern California Operations. 

Downtown L.A. 911 Center 

The City Council voted last month to approve plans for an emergency dispatch center at the current site of a Parker Center garage at 1st and L.A. Streets in Downtown Los Angeles. The facility will be shared by the Police Dept., the Fire Dept., and the EOC. An alternative site along Temple St., behind Parker Center, was rejected because Fire Dept. and EOC argued 1st & L.A. would be better suited to possible future expansion. But some in the City of L.A. decry the social and financial cost of "consuming the best portion of [the Parker Center site] for a low density use." Rick Keating of DMJM is the project architect.

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