The City Council unanimously approved a $335-million redevelopment project on Bristol Street to revitalize one of the city's most blighted and congested areas.
Council members took only three minutes to vote for the project, which has been planned for 2 1/2 years. However, they also commissioned a study of whether 1,453 of the 2,003 parcels in the planned project should be exempt.
Two weeks ago, the council, acting as the redevelopment agency, backed away from the project after residents and business owners protested in a heated session that the plan would take away their property without giving them fair market prices.
During the same meeting, Latino residents also protested that they had not received notices in Spanish for the plan.
City officials have stated that under state law, Santa Ana must pay the market price for the homes taken to make way for redevelopment and must also pay to relocate anyone affected.
About a dozen residents at Monday's meeting spoke against the redevelopment. Dr. Robert Gonzales, an optometrist who leases an office on Bristol Street, said: "I had hoped to establish a nice life here and be there until I'm an old man. This ruins my life plans for now. "
Under the project, property taxes from the area will be placed in a special fund for 35 years, which will help pay for the redevelopment.
In a new compromise, the city has agreed that some of the money from the redevelopment project will be devoted to improving and increasing low-income housing for those who might lose their homes.
The project area is about 783 acres along Bristol Street from Memory Lane to Central Avenue, a notoriously congested thoroughfare that bisects the western and eastern portions of the city. The project will widen the street and replace existing buildings with new offices and shopping centers.