NORWALK — After months of studying potential sites for revitalization, the City Council may take the first step this week toward establishing a second redevelopment project which would include the first residences to be targeted for redevelopment.
The council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, reviewed a series of recommendations from the Planning Commission and city staff last month but asked for several changes.
The last-minute additions and deletions to the survey area--the first step in establishing a redevelopment project--will be considered Monday by the council. The council can either approve, deny or modify recommendations.
Among the proposed additions are 13 residences contained in a triangular-shaped block near the often-congested Five Points intersection and three mobile home parks along Pioneer Boulevard, said William H. Nevius, assistant redevelopment director.
The survey area designates sites in the city to be studied for possible redevelopment. If adopted, the survey area would be sent to the Planning Commission to formulate and adopt a preliminary plan. However, before a redevelopment project can be adopted, the city must comply with a number of state requirements, including drafting an environmental-impact report, a redevelopment plan and other studies. A public hearing must also be held.
When an area is designated for redevelopment, all revenues received by taxing agencies are frozen at existing levels. Any increases in tax revenues that result from improvements go to the Redevelopment Agency to use for redevelopment.
Run-Down Commercial Properties
The city is seeking to incorporate almost 200 acres of run-down commercial properties all over town that were not included when the first redevelopment project was adopted in 1984. The first project focused on revitalizing the Civic Center and properties along Firestone Boulevard. The area suggested for the new redevelopment project, includes:
Properties west of the intersection of Alondra and Pioneer boulevards and along both sides of Pioneer between Alondra and 166th Street. Land with three mobile home parks--Norwalk Mobile Lodge, Pioneer Mobile Estates and the Cerritos Mobile Lodge--are among the parcels.
Industrial properties on Gracebee Avenue, commercial properties along Rosecrans Avenue between Cabrillo and Marrilla avenues and the Orange County Nursery property at Carmenita Road and the Santa Ana Freeway.
Properties on the southeast side of San Antonio Drive, between Pine and Walnut streets.
So far, redevelopment in the city has focused on commercial businesses and city officials have been careful not to include many residences.
Councilman Cecil N. Green said that including the triangular block bordered by San Antonio Drive, Pioneer Boulevard and Orange Street in the redevelopment plan would allow the city to take the property and help solve the traffic problems at the intersection of Rosecrans Avenue and Pioneer Boulevard.
Green said the city could then close Pioneer Boulevard between Rosecrans Avenue and Orange Street and reroute traffic through San Antonio Drive. The resulting acreage could then be used for possible expansion of Norwalk Square shopping center, he said.
"It would get rid of the most dangerous intersection in our city," said Green, who suggested including the site. He said he had considered the idea for many years.
Won't 'Take Away Houses'
But, he added, "if residents do not want it, we will not do it."
"There are a few houses that will be affected. If there is big opposition, it probably can't be done," Green said, adding that the agency does not intend to "take away people's houses" against their will.
Nevius said meetings were scheduled last week with the residents after the council asked the staff to gauge reaction from the homeowners and mobile home park tenants. The results of the meetings will be made public before the council Monday.
"We're just talking to the tenants. If they don't want to play, we'll pull way back," he said.
Nevius said the mobile home parks are being considered for inclusion so the Redevelopment Agency can assist tenants by helping them form a condominium association or cooperative. The agency could buy the land and sell it back to tenants at a reduced price. Among the benefits is that the tenants would own a plot of land and have some say in how the park is run, he said.
The city had approached some tenants before, but they were "reluctant" to talk about the venture because they feared their rents would be raised, Nevius said.
"It's not the intent of the agency to remove or displace the mobile home parks," he said.