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City stalls plans to lease Redevelopment Agency-owned store


The city is holding off on its plans to lease a portion of Redevelopment Agency-owned property at 11335 San Pablo Ave. for use as a men's clothing store after hearing from other businesses interested in the property.

On Dec. 6, the City Council, in its capacity as the governing body of the Redevelopment Agency, heard from two businessmen who said they are also interested in leasing the property, and a third business has contacted city officials about the site as well.

Council members said they want to have a more extensive discussion of long-term plans for that parcel and surrounding property before moving ahead with a lease. The matter is expected to come back before the council-as-Redevelopment Agency in January.

At Councilwoman Kathie Perka's request, the staff will also prepare an inventory of other Redevelopment Agency-wned property.

The agency acquired the San Pablo Avenue property in 1992 with the intent of eventually combining it with other parcels for a larger project. It has been vacant much of the time since and there have been some problems with break-ins and homeless people occupying it.

The property is near Potrero Avenue, just north of Seidell's Chevron.

On Oct. 4, the council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, approved a proposal by Reggie Huston to lease a portion of the property The proposal calls for Huston to use the property for the first six months rent free because of the estimated $6,500 in repairs he will need to do to use the property. Following that period, Huston would pay $450 a month.

He was to have a two-year lease, with a clause that states he is not eligible for any benefits shoul relocation be necessary.

In other action Dec. 6 Gina Brusatori was chosen to chair the Agency board. Perka will serve as vice chair.

At the council meeting the same evening, Al Miller and Thom Stark requested on behalf of the Committee of the Whole more information from the council on its plans for the Redevelopment Agency.

They submitted the following request:

The Services for the 21st Century Committee of the Whole has directed us, the Committee's Chair Team, to request from you your officially-adopted Plan for the El Cerrito Redevelopment Agency's Transition to hiatus, as called for in your April 19, 1999 RDA/Council Joint Meeting.

As you will recall, Part 2 of Councilmember Bartke's 3-part motion placing the Agency in hiatus stated: "Until the debt is repaid, the RDA will go into hiatus. 'Hiatus' means: - Powers of the Agency are not suspended, but are to be used only for extraordinary opportunities, after due notice and opportunity for public input. - Agency is to continue to receive tax increment and other income, and to pay bonds and other obligations; staff is to draft and submit legally required reports; staff is to follow recommendations #2 through 6 of the CotW Report; and a transition plan is to be presented by staff to take the RDA from active to passive status." (Part 2 carried by voice vote 4-1, with Councilmember La Force dissenting.)

In further action at that meeting, Councilmember La Force moved part of the transition plan be whatever economic development position comes out of the City budget (identify source of city funding). Council Member Bartke seconded that motion, which carried by unanimous voice vote, 5-0.

The CotW believes that the transition plan required by Councilmember Bartke's motion has not yet been forthcoming. Therefor we respectfully request Council address this oversight at its first available opportunity.

We suggest that, to be useful as a tool, the RDA Transition Plan should specifically address the following items:

1. The amount to be repaid and time table for repaying the RDA debt to the City;

2. How changes to RDA procedures outlined in recommendations #2 through 6 of the CotW Report will be implemented;

3. A list of the specific projects that are considered "grandfathered" (Honda, etc.);

4. How city staff hours are to be charged and accounted for when working on grandfathered projects;

5. How city staff hours are to be charged and accounted for when working on projects deemed "extraordinary opportunities," if any, during the RDA hiatus and

6. How and under what circumstances the Agency will make the transition back to active status once its debt to the City has been repaid.

We also suggest that Council would benefit by conducting periodic reviews of how the Transition Plan is being implemented.


Anne Delehunt,
Al Miller,
Thom Stark

Run dates: 1999-12-06 - 1999-12-10

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