Anaheim officials have sided with Disneyland and rejected a proposal from SunCal to develop 1,275 condominiums and 225 affordable apartments on 26 acres in the city's resort district.
Disney lobbied hard to block the project, which would abut Disney property that could eventually accommodate a third theme park. Disney representatives said the housing would be out of place in the 2.2-square-mile resort district, which has rebounded with new hotels and restaurants during the last decade.
The City Council last year amended the resort district plan to permit residential uses. However, the Planning Commission early this year rejected SunCal's plan for 1,500 units on the Haster Street site of two existing mobile home parks and a strip mall. SunCal appealed, but the City Council divided 2-2, with Councilman Lucille Kring abstaining because of a conflict. The split vote means the Planning Commission decision stands.
Affordable housing advocates and labor unions endorsed the project, saying it makes sense to provide housing in the resort district, where more than 20,000 people work.
Indian casinos may be big business, but they are not going to provide significant revenues for the State of California, according to a new report by the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO).
In 2006, Indian casinos took in about $7 billion, meaning only Nevada has a larger casino industry. Nine recently negotiated — but still unratified — compacts between the state and Indian tribes attempt to cut the state a larger slice of casino revenues, primarily to fund transportation, and the governor's budget for the 2007-08 fiscal year assumes casino revenues will increase to $539 million, up from $33 million this year. The LAO figures it will take three to ten years for the state revenues to grow so much, and even then the total amount will be relatively small.
"Even assuming that all of the 2006 compacts are ratified and a few more similar compacts are ratified in the future, we expect that compact-related sources will provide the general fund with less than 0.5% of its annual revenues for the foreseeable future," the LAO said.
The report, "California Tribal Casinos: Questions and Answers," is available on the LAO website: www.lao.ca.gov.
Madera County has settled a dispute with the Chukchansi tribe over construction of a hotel and parking garage that the tribe is building next to an existing casino. The tribe agreed to pay the county, the Yosemite Unified School District and local families about $13 million over 10 years to mitigate public safety and other impacts. In exchange, the county agreed to drop three lawsuits it had filed against the tribe.
Madera County and the tribe disagreed over whether the county has jurisdiction over the hotel and parking structure, which the county says is not located on federal trust land. In November 2006, the county attempted to halt construction at the site and sought a restraining order to block the project. Under the agreement, the county dropped its claim of jurisdiction.
Under federal law, Indian tribes may have casinos only on reservations or land held in federal trust. Local governments have no jurisdiction over development in those locations. The Chukchansi Tribe's actual casino is on federal trust land along Highway 41.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved a proposed landfill on the reservation of the Cortina Band of Wintun Indians. The 400-acre landfill site is in the hills of Colusa County, west of the towns of Williams and Arbuckle.
Colusa County and local farmers fought the proposed garbage dump for years because of concerns over truck traffic on Highway 20 and because of potential groundwater contamination. However, the Board of Supervisors dropped its lawsuit over the dump last year, saying the county could no longer afford the litigation.
Earthworks Industries, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, will develop the landfill with the Cortina Band. The dump could accept up to 1,500 tons of trash daily for decades, and could serve a portion of the Bay Area.
Redevelopment reform legislation approved in 2006 has apparently taken its first victim. San Bernardino County dropped plans to form two redevelopment project areas, one covering Bloomington and the other for Devore and Muscoy. The decision to discontinue redevelopment efforts is at least partly due to a new legal definition of "blight."
Senate Bill 1206 (Kehoe) tightened the definition of blight and placed a number of new requirements on the formation of redevelopment project areas (see CP&DR, October 2006). The legislation would require the county "to start the redevelopment formation process anew," Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Kathy Thomas wrote in a report to the Board of Supervisors, which pulled the plug on redevelopment.
Besides the new rules, there was little public support for redevelopment, especially in Bloomington, where an incorporation drive is under way. The county had spent $834,000 for the two project area formation processes.
Seal Beach has repealed a ban on three-story houses in the Old Town area, west of Pacific Coast Highway. The City Council last year approved the ban to preserve the district's aesthetics and protect views. Unhappy property owners then gathered enough signatures to force a referendum, and initially the City Council set the matter for an election. But in February, the City Council voted 4-1 to repeal the ordinance. Instead, city officials are drafting an ordinance that regulates floor area ratios.
The trial court judge who ruled for a San Diego developer in an inverse condemnation case has been rebuked by the Commission on Judicial Performance for not disclosing his relationship with the developer's attorney.
San Diego County Superior Court Judge Vincent P. DiFiglia ruled that City of San Diego planning for a new airport and a border traffic plan amounted to inverse condemnation on a business park being developed by Roque de la Fuente. A jury then awarded the developer $94.5 million. However, the Fourth District Court of Appeal last year ruled there was no taking and threw out the award (see CP&DR Legal Digest, November 2006).
DiFiglia, who has since retired and now acts as a private judge, recused himself during a later phase of the trial — after the press reported his receiving gifts from the developer's attorney, Vincent Bartolotta, Jr. The Commission on Judicial Performance found that DiFiglia "had a long-term personal relationship with Mr. Bartolotta" and said DiFiglia had received private admonishment in 1992 for not disclosing the relationship. In addition, DiFiglia's failure to disclose his past employment with the city attorney's office was also contrary to the Code of Judicial Ethics, according to the commission.
Judge DiFiglia's conduct "was, at a minimum, improper action," the commission concluded in its public admonishment.
The ongoing redevelopment of the former George Air Force Base in Victorville received a boost in February when Newell Rubbermaid signed an agreement to lease 400,000 square feet of warehouse and distribution space, and acknowledged plans to lease an additional 600,000 square feet of space.
One of many California military bases to close during the 1990s, Norton is now called the Southern California Logistics Airport. As at a number of bases, local officials planned for industrial reuse; industrial redevelopment at George, however, may be further along than at any other base that closed during the period. The airport has become a major logistics hub because of its air, rail and ground connections.
Goodyear, M&M/Mars, Nutro Products and ConAgra Foods have all established large distribution centers at the former base during the last few years, but the Rubbermaid project could be the largest. Rubbermaid signed a 10-year lease agreement with master developers Sterling Enterprises and DCT Industrial Trust, a joint venture that will provide a build-to-suit facility. Art Garcia, director of real estate and property for Newell Rubbermaid, called the site "an ideal location."