A citizens advisory committee has urged La Canada Flintridge to move ahead with redevelopment and has said the city can do so without having to build any low-income housing.
The report, prepared by the Citizens Advisory Committee on Redevelopment and delivered to the City Council Monday, said provisions in the state law would allow the city to qualify for redevelopment funds if 20% of the money were set aside to subsidize maintenance and improvement on homes owned by elderly and handicapped residents with low or moderate incomes.
The report also said the city could use the money for rent subsidies for residents who live at or below poverty level. In 1980, according to that year’ census, 12.7% of La Canada households were eligible.
The committee’s findings represent the latest chapter in the city’s 3-year-old effort to qualify for up to $70 million in redevelopment funds. The city wants the money to finance improvements along its Foothill Boulevard commercial district.
Under state law, cities can qualify for redevelopment funds by declaring themselves either physically or economically blighted. Under provisions of the law, La Canada and other affluent communities have been able to declare their commercial districts economically blighted.
But the law also requires that cities set aside 20% of the redevelopment funds they receive for low-income housing. And in the past, officials worried that acceptance of the money actually necessitated building low-income housing units.
Last year, La Canada, following the lead of other affluent communities seeking redevelopment funds, negotiated a deal with Los Angeles County whereby the city would satisfy the requirement on low-income housing by transferring money to the county, which would then use it to build low-income housing outside the city.
But that settlement was scrapped last spring when Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed a bill that would have allowed the city of Indian Wells to adopt a similar strategy.
At that point, the council, reacting to a widely held community feeling that the city should forgo redevelopment if it meant building low-income housing, established the advisory committee to re-evaluate the city’s options.