As Meas D failed we must block any new RDA project areas

We must not let our guard down

Although Mission Viejo’s Measure D failed last week there is more at stake than a future sale and potential development of the Casta Golf Course.

Anyone driving through the heart of Mission Viejo will notice the Village Center strip mall across from our city hall and city library which predates our cityhood. It is located between La Paz Road and Estanciero Drive on the eastern side of Marguerite Parkway. Major tenants in that center are Big Lots, CVS, Saddleback Lanes, Stein Mart, and Trader Joe’s.

There are real estate developers and others in the city, who would love to get the 7-9 property owners to commence a major renovation which can include mixed-use development with multi-story lodging above shops.

While voters passed Prop 99 in 2008, which allegedly protects owner occupied homes, it does not offer any protection for business owners from local police powers of eminent domain takings when you have no desire to sell.

Mission Viejo’s only redevelopment project area was created in 1992. It includes most of the commercial properties in the southern part of our city and the Freeway Center.
The area I am referring to is not in that project area where the powers of eminent domain expired after 12 years. I have that confirmation in writing from our city redevelopment attorneys. While the letter states those powers to have ended I do not believe that announcement would apply to any new project area.

Those opposing Measure D spent over $100,000 for a reason. In my view it was to tear down and renovate the Village Center using eminent domain powers.

Our task is to monitor future city council meetings and immediately challenge any new or amended redevelopment plan within the timeframe allowed by law. We need to keep our eyes on any official Public Notices and Hearings that, in accordance with redevelopment law, are required prior to any plan’s adoption. That would also include the proposed CRA project plan and boundary map. If this were to be approved the MV redevelopment agency would divert tax increment for the next 30 to 40 years.
This is a serious concern. Unless we can block Mission Viejo’s redevelopment agency “the Agency will have the power to acquire property by purchase or condemnation (eminent domain) in order to eliminate blight, provide public improvements and permit development in accordance with the Redevelopment Plan. All property in the project area would therefore be subject to the possibility of acquisition or condemnation by the Agency under the circumstances set forth in the Redevelopment Plan.”

Larry. How can we stop this taking? “The best and cheapest way to challenge any amendment is by a referendum petition filed with the city clerk within 30 days of passage for the amendment ordinance and containing not less than 10% of the registered voters in the city.”

Larry Gilbert is the OC Co-Director of Californians United for Redevelopment Education. He is also a member of the Castle Coalition and serves as an elected board member of the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights

About Larry Gilbert