"Plan Amendment and Vision 2015 A redevelopment plan amendment"
Plan Amendment and Vision 2015 A redevelopment plan amendment is underway for the Earthquake Disaster Assistance Redevelopment Project for Portions of Council District 7 (commonly known as the Pacoima/Panorama City Project Area), which includes the communities of Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta, Pacoima, Sylmar, Sun Valley and North Hollywood. The Pacoima/Panorama City Project Area contains 4,208 acres and was established in 1994 as a result of the Northridge earthquake. This plan is set to expire in 2015 and while the CRA/LA has made significant progress in addressing deterioration in the Project Area, there are still redevelopment opportunities to implement. By amending the plan and expanding the Project Area, the CRA/LA, in partnership with community stakeholders, can tackle the challenges facing our communities. So, what does this all mean? To help explain, we’ve compiled a set of Questions and Answers on what the CRA/LA does, how we do it and why our work is key to revitalizing communities in our area. What is Redevelopment? Redevelopment was established by California state law to revitalize urban neighborhoods and help them become healthy, safe and thriving places for residents to live and work. Today, almost 400 California cities and counties have successfully used redevelopment to leverage public resources and attract private investment to areas that have been unable to foster development on their own. Who is the CRA/LA? The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, known as the CRA/LA, was established in 1948 through California Redevelopment Law to bring housing, jobs and economic development to the City of Los Angeles. Currently, there are 32 Redevelopment Project Areas in the City, including the Pacoima/Panorama City Project Area in the East Valley Region. What is a Redevelopment Project Area? To create a Redevelopment Project Area such as the Pacoima/Panorama City Project Area, the City Council must adopt a Redevelopment Plan, a legal framework that outlines the tools and procedures available to achieve the Plan’s goals. Specifically, a Redevelopment Plan establishes: 1) geographic boundaries and time limits for redevelopment activities. 2) goals and objectives for the designated area; 3) land use and development controls; 4) powers and methods of financing; and 5) process for community participation. Why amend the Redevelopment Plan? The purpose of amending the Redevelopment Plan is to: Expand the Project Area to include areas that exhibit blight as defined by California Redevelopment Law. Amend the land use restrictions in the Redevelopment Plan to conform to the Community Plans. Eminent domain would only be available to the CRA/LA to acquire property that is not occupied as a residence. Residential properties will not be subject to acquisition by eminent domain. The current Redevelopment Plan was created in rapid response to a natural disaster caused by the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 with immediate funds and tools to repair homes, businesses, and industry. Over the past 15 years, conditions have changed with the growth of the economy and population. Current neighborhood and community needs demand a more comprehensive and long-range economic development response. The amendment and expansion of the Redevelopment Plan intends to extend time frames, provide additional funds and explore creative and innovative economic development within the Project Area. Redevelopment is not an overnight process. Time, planning and negotiations are key to implementing a strategic plan that works for our communities. The CRA/LA has made significant progress in the Pacoima/Panorama City Project Area. Some notable accomplishments include: o Approximately 600 affordable residential units are either under construction, or have been completed over the past five years. o Recent economic development efforts including the Plaza Pacoima project, which includes 209,000 square feet of new retail (Costco and Best Buy stores), along with an adjacent Lowe’s Home Improvement store located at San Fernando Boulevard and Paxton Street. o The Pacoima Neighborhood Constituent Services Center is under construction and will be offering convenient City services to Northeast Valley residents by late 2009. o The Sylmar and Panorama City Business Improvement Districts (BID) have been formed and the CRA/LA is committed to providing new streetscape and infrastructure improvements within the BID boundaries. o The Homeownership Opportunity Program is currently underway and provides up to $75,000 in down-payment assistance to first-time homebuyers. What is the process to amend the Redevelopment Plan? The CRA/LA needs to amend each of the Redevelopment Plans and prepare required documentation. There is a special process laid out by California Redevelopment Law for the amendments. At the conclusion of this effort, a joint public hearing is held by the CRA/LA and City Council. If jointly approved, the Redevelopment Project Area will be legally amended. In mid-May 2009, the East Valley Region team began the amendment process for the Pacoima/Panorama City Project Area to extend the time and also review the possibility of expanding the project area for more comprehensive economic development. The Redevelopment Plan amendment is an 18-24-month process that includes the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report to assess the effects of economic development on the local environment. Do the communities have input? Community input is a vital part of a successful plan amendment. Community workshops and meetings will be held regularly throughout the process and informational materials will be distributed through a variety of methods that include mailings, handouts and the internet. In order to assist our communities in understanding the Plan Amendment and to be an integral part of the process, the CRA/LA and Council Districts 2, 6 and 7 have initiated a study in cooperation with the community to create a vision and action plan for the 4,208 acre redevelopment project for 2015 and beyond. Consultants are currently preparing background information for use in a series of upcoming community workshops scheduled to be held in summer 2009. The study, which will take 12 months, will provide a series of 12 workshops open to the community at convenient times and locations. For further information, please call either Al Santillanes, Project Manager at (818) 623-1066 or Lisa Bianconi, Community Affairs Specialist, at (818) 623-1067. You can also visit our website, www.crala.org/pacoima for more information on our projects and to view our quarterly report updates.