The Downey City Council has given a second reading and adopted two ordinances that expand the city's redevelopment area effective Aug. 19. The ordinances will enlarge the city's 125-acre redevelopment district along Firestone Boulevard by 305 acres, and create a new 118-acre redevelopment zone straddling Woodruff Avenue in an industrial area on the eastern edge of the city.
The City Council first approved the new areas earlier this month. But the council bowed to public pressure and left the Downey Redevelopment Agency without the power of eminent domain to further redevelopment.
When a redevelopment district is created, property taxes used to support traditional government services are frozen. Additional tax revenue from the higher value of redeveloped properties is then diverted to the redevelopment agency. The agency uses that money to promote redevelopment by financing public improvements, providing developers with discounts on land prices and other incentives.
City officials argued the new redevelopment areas were needed to keep business and industry from moving out of Downey, and to attract new enterprise. Opponents of eminent domain said they did not want to be forcibly removed from their businesses and homes.