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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Redevelopment Zone's Elimination Upheld

August 16, 2000

DIAMOND BAR — City officials must follow a California court order to disband its redevelopment district because the affluent suburb has failed to prove it has any blight, the state's Supreme Court has decided.

The high court refused to review the lower court order forcing the end of Diamond Bar's redevelopment zone, and the city was informed of the decision earlier in the week, City Manager James DeStefano said Tuesday.

A group of citizens sued the city, arguing that the redevelopment district was created illegally because there were no blighted areas and tax moneys would be diverted from schools, police and other vital services.

The court's refusal to review the case ends the city's avenues of appeal. Officials haven't determined what other options may exist, DeStefano said.

Diamond Bar, about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, had planned to use the money to attract new business to the city and improve streets, DeStefano said.

"This was not a tool to assist the city in its long-term financial needs," he said. "This was an economic development tool that would be utilized to revitalize the city, to develop the vacant spaces in our commercial areas, to significantly improve our traffic situation."

A state appeals court said there was no need for redevelopment in the area designated by the city. In refusing to review the case, the state Supreme Court effectively upheld that ruling.

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