WatchSonoma Watch

Petaluma tries to protect redevelopment projects

Central Business District project area


Until last week, Petaluma was planning to pay $5.1 million to the state to keep its redevelopment agency alive, allowing several building and affordable housing projects to move forward.

But a state Supreme Court order threw that all up in the air.

Petaluma Community Development project area

Now Petaluma, like every other city in the county, is treading water and trying to safeguard its planned projects, waiting for the court to issue a final ruling that will dictate the future of redevelopment agencies throughout the state.

As part of the state budget passed in June, the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown dissolved redevelopment agencies but gave them the option to continue if they agreed to pay specified amounts for distribution to schools and other taxing entities.

Some agencies called the fee a ransom or a “pay to play” scheme.

The California Redevelopment Association filed suit to block the legislation and the state Supreme Court issued a partial stay on the law’s implementation until the issue is heard in court.

Several Sonoma County cities, including Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Cloverdale and Windsor, and the county, had already agreed to make payments to keep their redevelopment programs going. Sonoma was poised to do the same until the court order came down.

In a special meeting set for next Wednesday, Petaluma will likely pass an “enforceable obligation payment schedule,” which is essentially a documentation of all of the city’s planned redevelopment commitments and their costs. Every redevelopment agency in the county must approve a similar list if it wants to protect its projects, Alverde said.

“If some reason there were a dissolution of the agency, that serves as a basis for what would be implemented in the future,” Economic Development Manager Ingrid Alverde said.

Redevelopment agencies have been around for decades with the purpose of helping rebuild blighted areas. Cities raise money for improvement projects by selling bonds that are repaid with the portion of the tax revenue generated as property values rise in the redevelopment area. The dissolution of the agencies would place more tax money into the state’s coffers instead of city redevelopment zones.

Much of the city of Petaluma lies within two redevelopment districts. The downtown makeover in the past decade was funded in large part with redevelopment monies. Numerous planned or ongoing building projects — including the Rainier Avenue cross-town connector, the East Washington Street interchange with Highway 101 and Old Redwood Highway projects — are dependent on millions of dollars of redevelopment funds.

Until the court issues a final ruling, anticipated by Jan. 15, agencies cannot enter into any new agreements or take on any additional debt and are limited to activities included in an approved list, Alverde said.

“We’re sort of in a holding pattern,” she said.

Councilman Mike Healy, a lawyer, has been following the Supreme Court’s orders on the issue.

He said the partial stay the court issued may be cause for optimism for redevelopment agencies.

“It looks really positive,” he said. “But it blows yet a bigger hole in the state budget.”

By law, 20 percent of redevelopment proceeds must go toward affordable housing programs.

Several nonprofits, including the Petaluma People Services Center, the Salvation Army and Committee on the Shelterless homeless programs and Rebuilding Together housing assistance program, rely on the agency for annual funding.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 11 English St.

9 Responses to “Petaluma tries to protect redevelopment projects”

  1. Social Dis-Ease says:

    It’s not a left/right thing, or liberal thing, or an old hippy thing. IT’S AN AGENDA 21/SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THING.

  2. Jason Valez says:

    The State passed two bills, one to elimate redevelopment altogether and one letting them continue if they pay for the money schools have been losing instead of the State paying for that, more or less. If the court strikes down the second bill then wouldn’t the first one still be valid? That’s what I’m hoping for. Just abolish redevelopment completely.

    But wait, there’s a new tax sucking scheme right behind it, Infrastructure Financing Districts. Hold onto your wallets, this will probably include property tax increases to pay for it. Also the new One Bay Area regional unconstitutional plan is coming down upon us that will decimate property rights by only allowing development in areas known as Priority Development Areas. These areas were already designated by our elected officials before anyone, including the people voting for them, knew what they were signing up for. Several of the 111 bay area cities covered by this plan including Santa Rosa have lodged objections to One Bay Area because in order to get any of the big $200 Billion in transportation funding grants from the feds requires that cities and counties only approve development projects in these tiny areas along mass transit routes. All other property owners of developable property will be thrown under the bus. Unbelievable but true. And the development has to be Smart Growth UN Agenda 21 style stack and pack development. The hardscape for our Planned Future.

    I went to the Delphi’d One Bay Area meeting here in Santa Rosa where the pre-determined outcome was rolled out. We got to play with electronic clickers and got a great box lunch. A whole throng of facillitators paid with our taxes were there in case anyone got out of line and wanted their questions answered.

    The room was packed with supporters and city insiders, and very few members of the public at large. A real sham affair. People who asked questions were shouted down.

    The 20 year anniversity of UN Agenda 21 being forced on us is coming up next year in Rio, Agenda 21′s birthplace in 1992, and they are really pouring it on now. Elected officials and the press still won’t cop to it. Ha, ha. They know their city is a member of ICLEI. ICLEI is a UN affilliated NGO and is an implementation arm of UN Agenda 21. Any candidate that pretends not to know about the plan should not be voted for.

    They say we’re too rich here in America and it’s not fair to people living in poorer nations. Their answer to this is to bring us down to their level of misery and poverty, then we will have EQUITY. Watch out for that word, it’s creeping in everywhere now along with Community and social justice. These are communist ideas, sorry, had to say it.

    Did you know that the Democratic Socialist Party of America claims that the 83 members of the Congressional Progressive caucus are members of that party? It’s on their website. Just know that when you vote for a progressive, you’re voting for a socialist. Just thought you’d like to know.

  3. John says:

    Redevelopment of downtowns use to be a good thing providing when the end result was doing some good, however, as we all know here in Petaluma the only benefactor is Basin Street / North Bay Construction and Barella and a few others who sucked a millions into their coffers t the expense of us taxpayers. Sad to say, Petaluma politics is about lining pocketbooks of government workers and we’re paying them not to take care of Petaluma. From the farmers, ranchers and locals; Petaluma has succumbed to liberal politics and developers all in the name of the all mighty dollar.

  4. Social Dis-Ease says:

    They live in Fascist Land.
    As nonsensical as Smart and Redevelopment seem fiscally at face value, both are representative of much bigger, darker ideology. The sooner we all recognize Agenda 21 and its various instruments and tenticles, the more we’ll see what’s REALLY GOIN’ ON. Redevelopment is municipal tyranny. It is impossible to grow a viable, free market local economy with Redevelopment in place (that’s the whole idea). Your local ‘public servants’ are literally in treason. U.S. Constitution;Article 1, Section 10. Join the growing body of citizens resisting. Search: Freedom Advocates, Democrats against UN Agenda 21, American Policy Center, Morph City. Redevelopment; the unknown government, or just search Agenda 21 on Youtube.

  5. Dogs Rule says:

    Petaluma needs to worry about it’s animal shelter, our roads, our business climate, our homeless population and the unemployed. It’s outrageous that our City leaders live in fairyland instead of Petaluma.

  6. Liz says:

    Very well said Joyce Garcia!!!!
    They are an abusive and unnecessary entity that must go!
    It is really maddening when you go to speak at city council and tell them not to spend the money on these projects but to instead spend it on things much more needed like fixing of our roads, trees and schools etc. and then they all vote to move forward. It’s like a slap in the face, especially after the mayor tells you thank you for you well stated words then moves forward anyways. But this can not bring you down we must keep fighting! and we will!

  7. Steve Klausner says:

    “Petaluma will likely pass an “enforceable obligation payment schedule,” which is essentially a documentation of all of the city’s planned redevelopment commitments and their costs. Every redevelopment agency in the county must approve a similar list if it wants to protect its projects.”

    This will be interesting. These non-elected redevelopment agencies have been moving a lot of tax dollars around with little to no accountability.

  8. Greedyselfishlibs says:

    The people running our counties,state and country are just old burned out hippies from the 1960′s.They have stolen are childrens future by spending every cent they can ever hope to earn and made sure they will not have the American dream as they have made it nearly impossible to build or own property in this once great county. This (1960′s) generation is the most SELFISH in history ,but soon they will be gone and we can make a fresh start.

  9. Joyce Garcia says:

    “Now Petaluma, like every other city in the county, is treading water and trying to safeguard its planned projects, waiting for the court to issue a final ruling that will dictate the future of redevelopment agencies throughout the state.”

    It doesn’t feel good having a final ruling that will dictate your future, does it?

    For years, cities have been neglecting roads and other safety concerns in order to deem area’s blighted so they can implement visions of the Redevelopment Agency and how we should live….with tax payers money…without our consent. The appointed members of the Redevelopment Agencies have been calling the shots in our cities and in our lives. They are an abusive unnecessary entity that needs to be eliminated permanently!