Three North Hollywood business owners sued the city of Los Angeles Thursday, challenging a City Council decision to extend the life of a redevelopment project.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, charges that the council illegally voted in November to extend the project until 2019 and lift a spending cap from $89 million to a maximum of $535 million. The power to condemn property was also extended to 2007.
The project had been scheduled to run out of funds next year.
The 750-acre project has generated controversy for years, particularly among business owners and homeowners who say the city's Community Redevelopment Agency has little to show for spending millions of tax dollars.
The plaintiffs in the suit--Mildred Weller, Glen Hoiby and Jerry Day--argued that the council violated state open meetings laws by limiting the amount of time opponents were allowed to speak during the first hearing Oct. 25.
On Nov. 1, when the council scheduled a second meeting to hear a staff report on the project, Council President John Ferraro reopened the public hearing. Weller said Ferraro failed to notify the public that a second hearing was scheduled. She and other opponents of the project were in the council chamber but were not prepared to speak again, she said.
In addition, Weller and the others allege that the CRA failed to prove that it could promote an economic revival more rapidly than private enterprise could by itself.
She also alleged that the CRA failed to explain how it could collect enough property tax revenue from North Hollywood to pay for the $535 million that could be spent on the project.
A representative for the CRA could not be reached late Thursday.