A recent report says the city of Placentia has been bleeding potential retail revenue and lost more than one-third of its businesses in the first half of the 1990s.
A city-commissioned study focusing on the southwest part of the city shows that 690 firms left the area from 1991 to 1996--more than one-third of the city's companies. The city also has a slightly higher unemployment rate than its neighbors in north Orange County, the resulting report says.
The city spent $40,300 to commission the study by Kosmont Partners.
City officials have declined to elaborate on the results of the study, saying it is preliminary.
"It's clear we're missing a unique opportunity to attract businesses, and we don't have an active retention policy," said Councilman Chris Lowe, who helped push for the study. Lowe says the city needs to hire a development manager as soon as possible.
And leaders of the Placentia Chamber of Commerce say economic activity has picked up in the past few years. They suggest the numbers fail to reflect the current situation.
"The figures for that period were a down time for everybody," said Marv Reid, the chamber's economic development director. "I have no data, but from the activity I see, everything is back up again."
Placentia's redevelopment plan was drawn up in 1983 and amended in 1990, and it hasn't been touched since. Some small projects have advanced in the 61-acre area covered by the study, but nothing on a larger scale.
The recent study, which is now going into a second phase that will include recommendations, also found that the city is losing retail sales to stores outside the city.
Among sectors that lost the most business, the study said, were agriculture (down 54%), retail (down 53%) and mining (down 50%).
The data also show Placentia with 2.1% unemployment, slightly higher than that of Yorba Linda and Brea, but still below the 2.3% average of the county.
Joyce Rosenthal, director of development services, refrained from commenting on the study because it is ongoing.