Garden Grove Votes to Sell Buena Clinton Plot for Industrial Park

Times Staff Writer

The Garden Grove City Council voted 4 to 1 Monday night to sell eight acres of city land in the run-down Buena Clinton section of the city to a private developer for the construction of an industrial park.

City officials said they hope the project, which is expected to displace about 125 families, will have a positive influence on the slum area. The sole vote against the sale was cast by Councilman Robert F. Dinsen.

The vote followed a public hearing during which developer Stan Smolin testified that he hoped the project would employ people from the Buena Clinton area and bring them into supervisorial and management positions.

"We see it as an excellent labor pool," Smolin said. The entire project could generate about 150 new jobs, he said.

No residents of Buena Clinton attended the hearing, although Mayor Jonathan H. Cannon said it had been widely advertised.

The development plan includes razing nine apartment buildings on 7.8 acres of land north of Keel Avenue between Buena and Clinton streets and possibly the construction of two low- and moderate-income apartment buildings adjacent to the site.

The development partnership of Stan Smolin and John W. Casey Jr., called the Buena Clinton Center, will purchase the land from the city's Agency for Community Development.

In the first phase, the developers will demolish an apartment building to make room for construction of an engine factory on 2.9 acres by the Carr-Griff Manufacturing Co. of Anaheim, a manufacturer of recreational equipment. City officials said they hope some of the area's unemployed residents will find work at the plant.

Ground-breaking on Phase 1 is expected on July 1, with construction to be completed before the end of the year, the developers said.

In Phase 2, the developers will level the remaining eight 12-unit structures on the property and lease the land to other industrial users. The city's goal is to restrict ownership of the land to one landlord, who will have the main responsiblity for its use, said Victoria Nelson of the city's Economic Development Department.

The city originally bought the acreage with a $4.2-million grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. The proposed sale includes about one-fifth of the total Buena Clinton area.

City officials said the project cannot begin until the families have been relocated to 'affordable, decent, safe and sanitary housing" as specified by the state Health and Safety Code regulations. The city will assist the families in the predominantly Latino area to find homes within the next year and will pay for moving costs, they said.

The project is part of an effort by the city to revitalize the three-block area called the county's worse slum.

Other plans include renovating buildings along Buena Street and converting Keel Avenue into a recreation park.

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