Inglewood officials say efforts to relocate residents affected by jet noise will get a boost in coming years as a result of the Board of Airport Commissioners' decision to spend up to $5 million annually for noise-mitigation projects.
Under the program adopted last week, Inglewood, as well as El Segundo and the city and county of Los Angeles, could be eligible for a share of the money each year if they receive matching federal funds.
The money will be used to purchase or improve properties around Los Angeles International Airport that are affected by aircraft noise. The airport, in turn, will be granted noise easements for aircraft flying over the property.
After commissioners approved the program, they voted to give $3 million to Inglewood to purchase a 151-unit apartment complex under an LAX flight path. Of the total, $1 million represents an advance on federal money the city is expected to receive next fiscal year for noise-mitigation projects.
Lewis Pond, deputy city manager for community development and housing, said that the $3 million, coupled with future grants the city could receive from the airport, will enable it to move faster on two projects aimed at redeveloping property where aircraft noise is a serious problem.
An estimated 1,000 families live in the two project areas, and the city expects that $100 million eventually could be required to redevelop the areas for non-residential uses, Pond said. The city had expected the redevelopment projects to take up to 20 years to complete.
"The program is really going to help us accelerate our plans," Pond said.
He said that since 1984, the city has received $2.6 million from the Federal Aviation Administration for noise-mitigation projects and has relocated about 300 families. The city is slated to receive another $2 million from the FAA this year, and had intended to spend it on various projects in the two areas.
However, the city learned that the owner of the apartment complex, in the 3700 block of Century Boulevard across from the Hollywood Park race track, had been forced into bankruptcy and creditors had placed liens against the property. The city reasoned that it could get a good deal on the complex and asked airport officials for funds to match those it will receive from the FAA, he said.
Expected to Cost $5 Million
The four-building complex is expected to cost the city $5 million, considerably less than if the city waits until bankruptcy proceedings are completed and the complex is sold, Pond said.
"The property will be a lot less expensive for us to buy now than later after it goes through bankruptcy and is repurchased," Pond said. "It will probably save us a couple of million dollars."
Pond said the complex, part of which was damaged by an arson fire last year, will be demolished and an air-freight terminal will probably be developed on the two-acre site.
"The irony of it is the airport causes these neighborhoods to decline and become essentially slums, but creates a development climate that otherwise wouldn't be there," he said.
Donald A. Miller, deputy executive director for the Department of Airports, said the money for the program approved by commissioners will come from the airport's construction fund. Monies for that fund come from past bond issues, federal grants and the airport's operating revenues.
Under the program, neither the county nor any of the three cities can receive more than $2 million from the airport annually, he said.
Miller said airport officials believed they "should do something" to assist in funding noise-mitigation projects, which are expected to cost more than $200 million in Inglewood, El Segundo and the county and city of Los Angeles. He said airport officials wanted to "encourage the release of funds" from the FAA for noise-mitigation projects by providing matching money.
Residents who are relocated are eligible to receive up to $4,000 spread out over four years to assist them in moving and paying higher rents, Pond said.