If no appeal is filed, last week's decision will allow Carson to begin a block-by-block survey of the redevelopment area and set priorities for improvements, said Community Development Director Patricia Nemeth. After specific improvements are identified, the city will begin issuing bonds to finance them, she said.
The city's first priorities may include land acquisition and rehabilitation in declining commercial and industrial areas along Alameda Street, Nemeth said.
The odd-shaped Carson redevelopment area is bounded roughly by the Dominguez Channel, Alameda and Carson streets and Wilmington and Sepulveda boulevards. Much of that area is made up of abandoned and substandard structures and vacant lots. Former garbage dumps or contaminated waste sites make up more than 200 acres of that area, city officials say.
The redevelopment area also includes the 135-acre Watson Corporate Center, a collection of new business and industrial buildings and vacant properties for which similar development is planned. Watson Land Co. owns most of the land included in the corporate center.
"The need for redevelopment was so obvious and the blighted conditions so palpable that it's difficult for me to imagine a court coming to a different decision," said Abbott, the Carson attorney.
Second Lawsuit Pending
Moreover, Abbott maintained, Carson's position is as strong in a second, still-pending county lawsuit over another redevelopment project. That suit, also filed in September, 1984, is expected to be decided at a hearing on Dec. 2. It involves about 1,000 acres on the northwestern edge of the city. The county estimates that $500 million in future tax revenue is at stake in that case.
"I think it is as good a case," Abbott said. "The area has different types of blight . . . but on the merits, it is equally strong."
County officials, however, contend that they still stand a good chance of winning the second lawsuit, which also is set to be heard before Judge Dowds.
"This doesn't necessarily mean we're going to lose the next one," Snyder said. "I do think the facts are sufficiently different so that we still have something left to argue about."
In addition to the two redevelopment projects contested by the county, Carson has two others that were established in the 1970s. The four areas total about 3,000 acres, or 23% of the city.
CARSON'S EXPANDED REDEVELOPMENT Carson expanded its redevelopment plans in July, 1984, with Project Area No. 3 and Amendment to Project Area No. 1. Los Angeles County filed suit over those redevelopment plans because it said the renewal projects would cost the county millions of dollars in tax money over the next 40 years. Carson last week won the county suit for Project No. 3 and will use the redevelopment money to improve that blighted property. A court decision on the amendment is expected after a hearing on Dec. 2.