One of the least scenic ways to visit Napa Valley is to enter from the south, through the industrial zone between the cities of American Canyon and Napa. The congested traffic and office parks near Highway 221 are a long ways from the idyllic pastoral stretches to the north.
The primary takeaways from last week's California Redevelopment Association conference was unambiguous: stakeholders and public officials alike must know the true impact of reduction of redevelopment funding in communities and statewide.Panels on the final day of the conference sent attendees home with some idea of the steps that both local agencies and the state association must take to achieve this goal and keep the state's redevelopment agenda on track.
For many cities, redevelopment relies on public-private partnerships, innovative financing, and design integrated with existing surroundings which, in turn, often support the hot topics of smart growth, transit-oriented development, and climate change adaptation.
By shifting $1.7 billion from redevelopment agencies to state programs and schools, the state budget signed this week by Gov. Schwarzenegger could halt numerous redevelopment projects for years to come, according to the agencies and housing proponents. The tax increment shift could also mean the end for some redevelopment agencies.
The grandstands of Churchill Downs will probably always fill with what bourbon-soaked pundit P.J. O'Rourke described as the "tremendous squash and jostle" of seersucker suits and saturnine headwear every May. And yet, out West no fewer than four of California's once-proud of racetracks have entered some form of bankruptcy, redevelopment, or uncertainty. With attendance and handle down at California tracks – as at tracks across the country – rare opportunities are emerging to redevelop outsized parcels that sit amid heavily urbanized areas.
With the State of California again facing financial calamity, the fight in Sacramento over tapping the revenues of local redevelopment agencies to fund schools is likely to intensify. Among the latest developments are a Sacramento County Superior Court ruling blocking implementation of a portion of a 2008 law requiring redevelopment agencies to transfer $350 million in tax increment revenue to schools, and a state controller's office report that says more than one-quarter of redevelopment agencies face sanctions for being out of compliance for their pass-through payments to schools.
A lawsuit challenging National City's updated blight findings and extended eminent domain authority for about 700 parcels in a redevelopment project area has been reinstated after a trial court judge threw out the suit on procedural grounds.