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Orange County

Hundreds Protest Zoning Proposal

Urban renewal: Garden Grove considers adding to redevelopment zone. Official says residents are in no immediate danger of losing their homes.

June 26, 2002|KIMI YOSHINO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Nearly 600 residents packed a rowdy Garden Grove City Council meeting Tuesday night as officials considered an ambitious redevelopment plan that could threaten hundreds of homes.

The residents, carrying signs that read "Save Our Homes," "Don't Steal Our American Dream" and "No Eminent Domain," pleaded with the council to vote down a proposal to add 195 acres to the redevelopment zone.

The area, which mostly borders Harbor Boulevard, encompasses 500 single-family homes, 300 mobile homes, 120 apartment units and 30 businesses. If a developer wants to build hotels, restaurants or a theme park, those residents could be forced out.

"The only way they're going to get me out of my house is in a coffin. I'm going to die there," Peter Castro, 75, a Garden Grove resident for 50 years, said at the hearing. "My kids were born there. They were raised there. That's a lot of family history."

The council's vote on the proposal is scheduled for Tuesday.

City Manager George Tindall said the residents have been misinformed. No developer has a proposal for the area.

"This has nothing to do with buying people's homes," Tindall said. "This is a tough policy issue for the city. Someone's got to look [out] on behalf of the city long term."

City officials want to boost tax revenue in the city by cashing in on neighboring Disneyland in Anaheim and on Anaheim's other tourist attractions.

In the past few years, developers cut lucrative deals with Garden Grove that have resulted in the addition of 2,000 new hotel rooms. Assistant City Manager Matt Fertal said those hotels bring in $4 million to $5 million in annual bed-tax revenue for Garden Grove.

Mayor Bruce Broadwater wants to continue that development. Broadwater has said he envisions a Harbor Boulevard lined with hotels, stretching from the Fullerton city line, passing through Anaheim and continuing through Garden Grove.

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