It’s been a year since Redevelopment officially left California. Since then, more than 50 lawsuits have been filed against the State for how it has handled the wind down and claw-back from local governments. Yet despite the litigious and sometimes combative atmosphere, officials at the state and local level continue to push for improvements in the Post-Redevelopment California.
Simply examining the list of lawsuits could provide the casual observer with a skewed interpretation of the state-local relationship. Lawsuits between local governments and the state have to deal almost exclusively with the size of claw-back payments that the state is demanding from local governments. Either a result of haste or by design, the only legal avenue for resolving disagreements over the payments comes through the court system.
Reforming the appeals process over contested payments is just one of the themes that has emerged in the year.
During a January visit to the Capitol, the California Contract Cities Association met with legislators. One of the topics of their meetings was redevelopment, and according to first-hand reports, city managers were asking the Legislature for an alternative to lawsuits – an extra-judicial appeals process such as arbitration.
Even as disputes over “how much” continue to ferment, successor agencies are looking forward to the next challenge of the wind down – “[disposing] of the real estate assets that were owned by redevelopment agencies prior to their dissolution through the preparation of a long-range property management plan as required by AB 1484.”
According to attorney Ethan Walsh of Best Best and Kreiger, “long-range property management plans, however, offer an opportunity to salvage some of the goals that were cast aside when redevelopment was eliminated.”
Behind both the disputes and the development of long-range property management plans, state and local officials are working to resurrect redevelopment for future generations. Enterprise zones could be expanded, infrastructure development districts could be broadened, and there’s even talk that redevelopment itself could be reintroduced in a modernized form.
What form, if any, redevelopment takes in the future; government officials from both parties in Sacramento are working to give local governments a new tool for economic development.