A citizens panel set up by the city is challenging the legality of a plan by the Community Redevelopment Agency to issue $5 million in bonds for street improvements to benefit a major film studio project proposed in North Hollywood.
A statement released Tuesday by the Project Area Committee asks the city attorney's office to determine whether it is legal for the agency to issue the bonds to pay for street widening projects that will benefit the project proposed by developer J. Allen Radford.
Glenn Hoiby, panel president, said the members want to know whether the bond issue needs voter approval as required by Proposition 218 and whether it represents an unnecessary gift of taxpayer funds. Some of the money would be used to buy right of way already owned by Radford but necessary for the widening project benefiting his development.
"It would be providing a benefit to Jarco that the agency isn't required to provide," Hoiby said.
Jon Coupal, head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., said it does not appear Proposition 218 applies to a redevelopment program for which no new taxes or fees would be levied.
Assistant City Atty. Dov Lesel said he would review the issues raised in the challenge when he receives the committee's letter.
But Lesel said redevelopment projects routinely use bond funding for improvements that benefit development.