At the end of last year the Supreme Court released a decision in the Redevelopment case, background on that from the Wall Street Journal:
The ruling comes after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills passed by state legislators over the summer. The first called for the elimination of redevelopment agencies, while the second allowed individual agencies to stay open if they made payments to the state.
The California Redevelopment Association, a group representing redevelopment agencies, and others quickly sued the state, arguing that both laws violated a voter-approved ballot measure from 2010 that bars the state from taking funds such as redevelopment money.
The Court upheld the ability of the legislature to dissolve redevelopment agencies, but invalidated the part of the legislation that would allow redevelopment agencies to exist as long as they paid to play, so to speak.
Redevelopment, while not huge in Alameda, has played a significant role in the past in projects such as the Alameda Theatre, Webster and Park Street revitalization, and of course, the Bayport development. There are other things, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
So how does this affect Alameda? Well first off, the Community Improvement Commission (CIC) which is the Alameda body that oversees redevelopment in Alameda, essentially comprised of the City Council members, will have to disband and choose a successor agency. No surprise that they selected the City Council to be that successor agency and the Housing Authority to take over the Housing portion of the CIC duties — mostly dealing with low income housing. Of course the Housing Board of Commissioners is also comprised of, yes the City Council, and one additional citizen as well.
City staff has put together a quickie overview here to go with the last minute resolution that had to be hurried through in advance of some of the deadlines looming with the Supreme Court decision. According to Staff, the CIC will fully dissolve by February 1.
Something you may be wondering is how many staff will be affected by the redevelopment agency going away, well the good thing is that there are only three full-time equivalent staff that have salaries that are paid out from the CIC funds. At Tuesday night’s meeting the City Manager noted that Alameda is in a much better position than a lot of other cities which have used redevelopment funding to pay for a lot more staff and portions of staff time which will make this process a lot more difficult when trying to separate the different pots of money.
It will be interesting to see what happens when all the redevelopment debt is paid off in Alameda. One of the big annoyances about redevelopment — in Alameda at least — was that the redevelopment areas were in a consistent state of renewal. When redevelopment areas — which in theory have a finite life span — were on the cusp of expiring, they would be combined with other redevelopment areas and their lifespans would be extended. I have a few questions floating out there for City Staff and as soon as I get the answers, I’ll post them here.
Understandably the City Council and other local — not counties though — agencies are a little miffed by this development in the redevelopment scheme given that redevelopment has been one of the main tools that cities have used to spur development within its borders. Some Sacramento watchers have suggested that the legislature may come back with another “pay to play” alternative that will severely restrict redevelopment, but bring it back to its original purpose, to eliminate blight, but in the mean time Alameda will have to continue down the path of winding down its redevelopment program, which will make developing Alameda Point reliant on private dollars moving forward.