FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE AGENCY
CITY OF COMPTON SUCCESSOR AGENCY FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Why is Redevelopment Important?
The Successor Agency formerly known as the Community Redevelopment Agency serves as the economic development arm of the City for rebuilding and generating economic vitality in the community.
Redevelopment is one of the most effective ways to breathe new life into deteriorated areas plagued by social, physical, environmental or economic conditions which act as a barrier to new private investment in the area. Through redevelopment, the city is able to reverse deteriorating economic trends, create jobs, revitalize business, rehabilitate and add to the housing stock and stimulate active participation by citizens and private investment which would not otherwise occur.
Redevelopment provides the following benefits to the community:
- Creation of new jobs and housing opportunities.
- Economic development and crime reduction.
- Development or improvement of public facilities such as libraries, theaters and parks.
- New cultural, shopping and recreational opportunities.
- Stimulation of private investment and help rehabilitate homes and businesses.
- Transformation of hazardous waste sites (called brownfields) into productive uses.
- Ultimately increasing overall city revenues to provide greater public safety services.
- Elimination of slum and blight conditions in project areas.
What is the history of the Compton CRA?
The Successor Agency formerly known as the Community Redevelopment Agency is responsible for one project area, entitled the Compton Redevelopment Project Area is a result of merging all previous project areas into a single project area, which occurred in 1991. Approximately 2,635 acres are encompassed by the total Redevelopment Project Area.
The following table illustrates the history of redevelopment areas to the Compton Redevelopment Project Area:
Rosecrans Redevelopment Project Area
Walnut Industrial Park
Walnut Industrial Park Amendment
Walnut Industrial Park Amendment
Walnut Industrial Park Amendment
Merged and Amended Compton Redevelopment Project Area
What authority and law do redevelopment agencies operate under?
Redevelopment agencies are established and operated under the laws of the California Redevelopment Law (CRL). Redevelopment Agencies are separate and distinct legal public bodies that report to the local governing body of the community (City Council). As a separate legal body, the Agency is required to conduct separate meetings (Urban Community Development Commission “UCDC”) and minutes, separate resolutions, separate accounting systems, and separate bylaws.
California Redevelopment Laws require agencies to prepare annual financial and housing reports. California Redevelopment Law specifically describes when, where and how redevelopment may be used in a community. To review California Redevelopment Law, click here (.http://www.hcd.ca.gov/hpd/rda/rdalaw.html)
The Compton City Council also serves as the Agency’s board.
What are Redevelopment Plans?
- Redevelopment plans act as the agency’s charter by establishing:
- The agency’s purposes and planning goals.
- The legal framework for revitalization activities.
- The basic powers and limitations of the agency.
- The financing methods to fund the revitalization activities.
- Redevelopment plans are locally created and adopted so they respond to our community’s unique needs and vision. They must be in harmony with the City’s general plan.
- Agencies adopt implementation plans that contain specific goals and objectives for the next five years, typically known as a Five-Year Implementation Plan. Five-Year Implementation Plans provide more specificity about revitalization programs, including potential projects and estimated expenditures.
- Redevelopment can only be used in areas that suffer from “blight”.
What is Blight?
Blight is physical and economic conditions within a designated area that cause such a reduction of, or lack of proper utilization, of area that creates serious burden on a community that cannot be reversed or alleviated without redevelopment.
- The elimination of blight is the legal justification for the use of the extraordinary public powers authorized by California Redevelopment Law (CRL).
- The characteristics and definition of blight are defined by the state legislature.
- The evidence of blight is a prerequisite to the formation of a redevelopment project area.
The area must have one or more adverse physical conditions:
- Incompatible adjacent or nearby uses of land parcels that hinder economic activity.
- Physical factors such as susceptibility to flooding that jeopardizes occupancy safety.
- Outdated and inefficient building configuration and design.
- Inadequate and obsolete infrastructure such as utilities, storm drainage, sewers, street lighting and inefficient street systems.
- Excessive code violations.
- Aging, dilapidated and poorly-maintained buildings.
The area must have one or more adverse economic conditions:
- High business vacancies.
- Low commercial and residential lease rates.
- High turnover rates.
- Depreciated or stagnant property values.
- Hazardous waste and other negative environmental conditions.
- Lack of private re-investment.
- High criminal activity.
- High concentration of liquor stores, bars, adult stores.
- Few jobs.
- Aging and poorly maintained structures
- Health and safety; uninhabitable conditions
- Excessive code violations
- Inadequate infrastructure
- Physical factors that jeopardizes occupancy
- Overcrowded conditions
- Lack of private re-investment
Additional Blight Requirements:
- Blighting conditions must substantially burden the existing uses of the area.
- An area must be predominately urbanized, meaning 80% of the land has been or is developed for urban uses.
- An area must be deteriorated to such an extent that it constitutes a serious physical or economic burden on the community that cannot
- reasonably be expected to be reversed or alleviated by private enterprise or government action alone.
- Courts are scrutinizing whether specific and quantifiable evidence exists to support the findings that a project area is blighted.
- Once blight has been established at the time of plan adoption, it does not need to be re-established during the life of the plan, except to extend the authority of eminent domain.
If my community adopts a redevelopment program that includes my home or business, does that mean my home or business is “blighted”?
No. Blight is a legal term used solely for the purposes of determining whether a community can qualify a certain area for redevelopment. Some areas that qualify for redevelopment have well-maintained homes and businesses interspersed among deteriorating structures.
How does a redevelopment project area financially sustain itself?
As a project area is revitalized, it begins to generate revenue to pay its own way.
This revenue is known as tax increment. The voters of California approved the authority for tax increment financing in 1951.
Will being in a redevelopment project area increase property taxes?
No. Simply being in a redevelopment project area will not increase your property taxes. Property tax increment revenues are the result of the rise in property values not an increase in tax rates. Property taxes can only be changed by the county as a result of either a sale of property or significant improvements made by the owner.
Are there other legislative limits on redevelopment agencies?
Yes. In 1994, AB1290, known as the Redevelopment Reform Act, affected both existing and new project areas:
- Tightened the definition of blight.
- Instituted statutory payments to affected taxing agencies.
- Imposed new time limits.
- Time limit to receive tax increment and repay debt: 45 years (was 50).
- Time limit for plan activities: 30 years (was 40).
- Time to incur debt: 20 years (was 30).
- Maintained the time limit for eminent domain authority: 12 years (can be extended upon finding that blight still exists).
- Included a “death penalty” for agencies failing to use their housing funds.
- Repealed the authority of agencies to receive sales tax revenues.
- Required the preparation of Five-Year Implementation Plans.
In summary, AB1290 had a dramatic impact on the plan adoption process, making it much more difficult and resulting in fewer new project area adoptions. The State Legislature remains serious about terminating redevelopment project areas.
How does redevelopment work?
Using tax increment revenues, the purpose of redevelopment is to help revitalize older, rundown neighborhoods and business districts typically found in the historic cores. Rather than developing on the fringes of a community, redevelopment typically addresses issues in older areas of town. Rundown conditions and poor infrastructure act as major deterrents to the private sector investing money in the older sections of town. Many cities’ economic, infrastructure and housing development goals are achieved by using the tool of redevelopment.
Private enterprise can seldom afford the high risk associated with rebuilding and revitalizing. For example:
- Costs of assembling smaller parcels for a comprehensive development.
- Environmental remediation.
- Relocation expenses.
The tool of redevelopment is one of the most effective ways to breathe new life into areas plagued by social, physical, environmental and economic conditions that act as a barrier to new investment.
Benefits of Redevelopment:
The following are typical examples of how communities are using the spirit and intent of redevelopment:
- Attraction of new businesses and jobs.
- Revitalization of downtown districts.
- Creation of cultural, shopping and entertainment opportunities.
- Construction or improvement of streetlights, roads, water, sewer, and storm drain utilities.
- Transformation of brownfields into productive uses.
- Preparation and implementation of specific plans.
- Preservation of local historic homes and buildings.
- Development or improvements of public facilities such as libraries and parks.
- Ultimately increase overall city revenues to provide greater services.
In summary, redevelopment is a successful tool for cities to keep local tax dollars at home, build and rehabilitate blighted areas, build a healthy local economy, increase the job base, generate sales tax and hotel tax, create affordable housing opportunities, improve infrastructure, assist with much-needed community projects, and support the City of Compton with the implementation of its General Plan.
For the Redevelopment Agency FAQ brochure, please download from the following link: