A Los Angeles City Council panel gave a preliminary go-ahead Monday for the inclusion of the vacant General Motors plant in Panorama City in a proposed "recovery area" that would use property taxes to pay for improvements around the plant.
At the request of Councilman Richard Alarcon, whose district includes the plant, the Housing and Community Redevelopment Committee instructed the city Community Redevelopment Agency to draft plans to put the empty plant within a recovery area, which is similar to a redevelopment project.
The recovery area must still be approved by the full City Council. But because the proposal is supported by Alarcon, its approval is likely.
The panel instructed the CRA to draft plans for recovery areas in the neighborhoods hardest hit by the Northridge quake, and Alarcon said he wanted to make sure the GM plant was included in such a zone.
Under disaster provisions of the state's redevelopment laws, the CRA can use property taxes from recovery areas to bankroll bond measures that can be used for public improvements in that community or to provide loans to quake victims. An aide to Alarcon said the recovery area can also pay for improvements in the nearby crime-plagued Blythe Street neighborhood.
But the proposal was blasted by longtime CRA critics who said the recovery area proposal will just allow redevelopment officials to use eminent domain powers to condemn homes and businesses. "When you recover, you don't recover by taking everybody's homes and businesses away," said CRA critic Howard Watts.
But officials said that under recovery area guidelines, redevelopment officials can only use eminent domain proceedings in limited circumstances.