The City Council has tentatively approved doubling the size of Pico Rivera's redevelopment area. The plan would result in about 30% of the city's 8.5 square miles becoming a redevelopment zone. The action, if confirmed in a second vote later this month, would allow the city to use proceeds from earlier redevelopment projects to improve the newly designated areas.
Council members approved the redevelopment plan with one major amendment. The council voted to prohibit using its powers of eminent domain against owners of single-family homes. Cities frequently use the eminent domain process in redevelopment areas to buy out property owners--with or without the owners' consent. Cities can then clear the properties and begin new construction to revive blighted areas.
As many as 900 residents had attended recent council meetings over the issue. They argued that the eminent domain process would have forced them from their homes and left them unable to afford new ones.
"People can relax now, even though we had no intention of taking their homes," City Manager Dennis Courtemarche said.