Santa Ana Renaissance Plan scaring local businesses and residents

Last night I had a chance to find out more about the City of Santa Ana’s proposed Renaissance Plan at the Housing and Redevelopment Commission meeting. Several residents showed up to speak. We all found out that the Plan will ban businesses in the affected area from tearing down and rebuilding their buildings. One speaker even said that if his business is damaged, say by a flood, he won’t be able to restore it if the cost to restore it will exceed the value of the property. That seems a bit harsh.

The plan assumes three people per household, even though national U.S. census figures show that Latinos average 3.54 people per household. The plan also assumes two parking spaces per household, and the planners behind it seem to be trying to force people to walk or use public transit. I think those are fine options, but they are not options available to everyone. Some people have to drive and there is no getting around that.

The plan also talks about getting the mix of businesses in the First Street corridor “right.” I guess the free market couldn’t do that. Isn’t Mayor Miguel Pulido’s muffler shop in that corridor? I wonder if it is “right?”

And city administrators admitted that the plan to build a $15 million per mile street car system that will connect the train station to the downtown area is something they came up with. Even though the OCTA makes money available for transit options the community comes up with. I don’t think that Santa Ana residents have had a chance to share with the City Council what they want in terms of mass transit.

The plan also does not include any affordable housing element. One public speaker told us that other such plans have in fact included that option.

Monday night’s City Council meeting was a Renaissance Plan study session. But the City Council did not televise it. And they met in a small conference room with their backs to the audience. I guess that symbolizes their disdain for the public. George Collins however showed up to film the meeting. You can now see it on his website at this link. Be sure to use Internet Explorer as Firefox has problems with his site.

According to the O.C. Register,
“Monday’s meeting of the City Council was the second in as many months held without the usual television cameras broadcasting the discussion on the city’s cable channel. City leaders have said the off-camera but public meetings foster a more open and in-depth conversation about big issues facing the city, such as transportation or development.”

That sure sounds like B.S. to me. When city leaders turn their back on the city’s residents, it cannot be a good thing.

The Register also added that, “The Renaissance Plan calls for a new high-rise district near the train station, thousands of new homes in nearby neighborhoods, and a new emphasis on drawing people into downtown. In many places, it would allow property owners more leeway to develop their land

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.