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Montebello : Anti-Renewal Ballot Drive

December 29, 1988

The backers of referendums that would enable Montebello voters to nullify recently approved redevelopment ordinances turned in thousands of signatures Tuesday to qualify the measures for the ballot.

Members of a citizens group called South Montebello Area Residents Together submitted more than 3,700 signatures--about 1,500 more than needed--to qualify each of the referendums, said SMART Chairman William M. Molinari.

The city has until Jan. 26 to check the signatures to make sure at least 2,260 are from registered voters who live in Montebello, said Deputy City Clerk Carolyn Hall. The City Council will set the date of the referendums if they qualify.

The council last month approved two ordinances to give the Montebello Redevelopment Agency the power of eminent domain to acquire private property, if necessary, for use in redevelopment projects in two areas of South Montebello. The Redevelopment Agency is required by law to pay fair market value for the property of unwilling sellers. Owner-occupied, single-family homes would be immune from eminent domain.

The ordinances will not take effect unless the referendums fail to qualify, or until city voters approve the ordinances.

Leaders of SMART organized the referendum petition drive because they say eminent domain will hasten development and bring more traffic, noise and pollution into their neighborhoods. They also say increased industrial development in the area will eventually squeeze out longtime homeowners.

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