I saw a couple of California redevelopment-related stories over the past week that seemed worthy of at least a brief comment.
First, a court decision involving a rather bold argument by a public agency.
The City of Loma Linda, like so many California cities, used to have a redevelopment agency. That redevelopment agency acquired property and embarked on various efforts to, well, redevelop things. When Governor Brown eliminated California’s redevelopment agencies, many projects were left in mid-stream.
In the case of Loma Linda, the redevelopment agency purchased some property, erected a fence, and cut off another property’s access to the public street. It seems like a pretty simple takings case, and the owner sued. But then Governor Brown’s legislation intervened, and things got weird.
The redevelopment agency was no longer a viable defendant in the takings case, because it no longer existed. And the City claimed it was not a viable defendant, because it hadn’t engaged in the conduct that resulted in the taking.
The trial court didn’t find this argument persuasive, and according to the attorneys representing the property owner, the case is now pending before the Court of Appeal. We’ll see what happens, but I have trouble believing that owners subject to takings by former redevelopment agencies won’t be provided a remedy just because the agency that engaged in the taking no longer exists.
Second is another story about the redevelopment fallout. Governor Brown has apparently offered a bit of an olive branch to the cities in the form of an expansion of California’s Infrastructure Financing Districts. According to James Brasuell at Planetizen,
Brown’s proposal would expand the use of IFDs beyond infrastructure to include military base reuse, urban infill, transit priority projects, affordable housing, and ‘associated necessary consumer services.
But this would only apply to cities and counties that had fully satisfied their former redevelopment obligations, which Mr. Brasuell hypothesizes is a means of accelerating the redevelopment wind-down. According to a January 10 article in the Sacramento Business Journal, Skepticism over Brown’s redevelopment replacement, the reaction from cities has been lukewarm. The article also notes that Governor Brown’s proposal looks an awful lot like AB 243, which he promised to veto just last year after it passed in both houses. As always, stay tuned.