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LOS ALAMITOS : City to Deactivate Redevelopment Unit

Taking a cue from the recent voter rejection of the city’s redevelopment plan, the City Council has decided to deactivate the Redevelopment Agency rather than let it continue in a dormant state.

“It’s my feeling that the voters said to us: ‘Right now, we feel redevelopment . . . is not something the city should be involved in,’ ” Mayor Ronald Bates said Monday in supporting deactivation of the agency.

The council will officially deactivate the agency at its July 13 meeting.

Earlier this month, voters through a referendum rejected the redevelopment plan adopted by the council in 1990. Officials of this cash-strapped city had hoped redevelopment would spur improvements along Katella Avenue and Los Alamitos Boulevard, increasing property values and generating more tax revenue.

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But some citizens opposed the plan, fearing that the city may eventually incorporate residential areas into the plan and use eminent domain to seize property.

By state law, redevelopment agencies naturally exist in all cities, so the council could just keep the agency in place in a dormant state, City Manager Robert Dunek explained.

Deactivation would simply require the council to take a few more steps, including holding a public hearing, if it ever wanted to re-establish the agency.

City Attorney Thomas W. Allen warned, however, that there is the remote risk that state legislation might someday make reactivation more difficult or even prevent it. If the council wants to pursue redevelopment again later, keeping the agency may be the safest route, Allen said.

Noting that Measure W failed by only about 160 votes, Councilman Robert P. Wahlstrom initially suggested the council keep the agency in place. But other council members said they felt voters had clearly rejected the whole idea of redevelopment, not just the proposed plan. They also said they doubted the state would ever try to threaten redevelopment by making reactivation more difficult.


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