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Niles gets the redevelopment money

Don’t forget to head over to City Hall tonight and give your two cents about the budget.

In addition to the operating budget which pays for police, fire and most other things, the council will also be considering the budget for the Redevelopment Agency, whose goal is to reduce blight and provide affordable housing in certain districts that include Niles, Centerville and Irvington.

Niles is the big winner when it comes to getting redevelopment dollars this coming fiscal year.

Of nearly $8.1 million in redevelopment funds not going toward affordable housing, Niles is projected to get $4.9 million. Centerville would get $1.8 million and Irvington would get $974,000.

Niles was the big winner this past year too. It is estimated to have received nearly $9 million in redevelopment agency funds by the end of this fiscal year on June 30. Compare that to $3.5 million for Irvington and $478,000 for Centerville.

BTW, the council will vote tonight on a $1.6 million contract to put the finishing touches on the Niles Town Plaza project, including the fountain.

Matt Artz

  • Matt Zinger

    How come Ardenwood and Mission San Jose are missing the redevelopment dollars. Is there any bias going on that Niles is allocated most dollars every year.

  • Charlotte Allen

    Ardenwood and Mission San Jose are not redevelopment areas so are not eligible for redevelopment dollars. But I too wonder why Niles, already a nice place, gets the redevelopment dollars instead of Centerville or Irvington.

  • Marty

    Does anybody know the status of the townhouse development on Ardenwood and Paseo Padre? It appear that the occupance of whats been built is thin and construction has halted.

  • Gus Morrison

    There are four separate redevelopment areas merged into one big one. Irvington and Niles were the first areas and Irvington got most of the early attention around five corners. Then Niles got things done.

    We then added the Industrial Area on the west side of 880, with the intent to complete the overpasses between Stevenson and Dixon Landing, opening up that whole area for industrial development which had been handicapped by poor access.

    Centerville never had the potential to develop and generate the kinds of tax increment (all the new taxes generated by new development) to pay for the needed improvements.

    Then, we added Centerville and merged all four areas into one large one, capturing the tax increment from the industrial area to be used in the three historic areas. That brought the necessary cash to do the projects needed in Niles and Centerville, along with a start towards an Irvington BART station. There is a cap on the amount of increment that can be collected which we will reach in the next several years. Negotiating an increase in that cap is a major task for city management at this time.

    As to how the money gets spent, there is a plan adopted by the council acting as the redevelopment agency and it includes all of the known projects. Those projects are fed into the city’s Captial Improvement Plan, which is published every two years and contains all projects, including costs and schedules. Remeber the meeting where people griped because staff would provide sandwiches? That is part of the process.

    At this point, as best I know, none of the redevelopment areas, except for the industrial area, are generating tax increment sufficient to meet their needs. Without expansion of the cap, all of these important projects will wind up on the list of unfunded projects and wait for a windfall from somewhere.

  • Marty

    Gus, those sandwiches were a bribe.

    Do you know anything about Ardenwood/Paseo?

  • AMacRae

    Marty, a bribe is only a bribe is there is reasonable expectation it will influence the one taking it.

    Would you really change your views on what needs to be done in Fremont because someone offered you a free cold sandwich in return for sitting in a meeting for a few hours?

    On one aspect I will agree with you in that the sandwiches were an inducement to get people to attend the meeting. Something I learned in business (too) many years ago. If you want people to come to a meeting about budgets, offer them food.

  • Fremont Lifer

    Gus, since I believe that I am the person you are referring to as griping about the refreshments that were provided at a previous City-sponsored meeting, I will re-state my position.

    I believe that it should not be necessary for the City to provide residents with any inducements to perform their civic duty, just as it should not be necessary for residents to provide City staff with any inducements (beyond whatever is listed in the salary schedule) to do the jobs that they were hired to do. The City would better serve it’s residents by providing clear, truthful information rather than free sandwiches.

    As is becoming increasingly clear, our City has no money. Trifles like free food should be eliminated now, until we can stop handing out lay-off notices and figure out how to pay for the important services that we need.

    If City staff still think that they have some spare money floating around, perhaps they should take whatever they were going to spend on food for meetings and donate it to Meals on Wheels.

  • AMacRae

    F-Lifer,

    I guess that’s the difference between the way we look at the world. You see an absolutest world where providing refreshments to people attending a meeting is a waste of money. I see it as a courtesy. Following your logic, perhaps the city should shut off the water fountain in the lobby, after all, civic minded people can bring their own water. And who needs air-conditioning, right? For that matter, think of the money that could be saved by selling the chairs in the city hall. Civic minded people can bring their own chairs or sit on the floor, right?

    On the other hand, I believe if you treat people courtesy, you will have many more taking part, a worthwhile outcome in my view and worth the very small price it requires.

  • Marty

    AMac, I was totally joking. Fn’ Lifer is totally serious.

    So, nobody knows about the Ardenwood development? Fine, forget it.

  • AMacRae

    Marty – sorry, humor impaired today I guess.

  • Fremont Lifer

    A, do you really want to go down the road of courtesy on the part of City officials and management after the events of the past year?

    These people lied to us, marginalized the tax-paying citizens who had the temerity to do their own research when their elected representatives and paid staff would not, and even resorted to calling voters a “mob” from whom they needed to be protected. Your “logic” is could just as easily have come from Our Mayor, who believes in always shooting from the hip, no reasoning required.

    All we ever asked for was information and a fair hearing. They have decimated the relationship that should exist between residents and those who work for them. They owe us an apology, not a free lunch.

    Courtesy on both sides should be a given, not a means to a pre-determined end. City management have got a lot of work to do to re-establish any trust with the populace. At least there are elections coming in 2010.

  • Gus Morrison

    I didn’t mean to bring up the sandwich thing as an issue, just to put it in context of time.

    Marty, Since they don’t tell me things any more, I cannot tell you exactly what is going on, but I know the developer of the property at the corner of Paseo Padre and Tupelo paid $62 million for 15 acres about 2005 or 2006. That was probably the highest per acre price ever. He has been building single family homes, not town houses, on the site. I forget how many, but it is probably between 120 and 180.

    Based on how the world has changed since he bought the land, it is logical to assume they aren’t selling at a price he would require to even break even. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in his shoes today.

  • Doug

    Think Fremont has problems? The city of Half Moon Bay is asking the state for $18M to settle a lawsuit with a developer.

    S.F. Chronicle
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/06/03/BAG417USVO.DTL

    Excerpt:
    “The legal dispute over the 24-acre Beachwood property, near the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 92, traces back 33 years, when the city approved a tentative map for a residential development on the property.

    In 1983, a city-built storm runoff system was placed on the property in advance of construction. But a city contractor piled dirt on the property that resulted in the pooled water that the court would later say was largely city-created wetlands, according to the November 2007 ruling.

    Developer Charles Keenan III bought the land for $1 million through a trustee in a 1993 foreclosure sale. In addition, Keenan contributed nearly $1 million for a sewage plant that the city said was necessary before development could begin. But in 2000, city leaders decided that protected wetlands were now present on the property, arguing they had appeared naturally.”

  • Marty

    I picked that story up yesterday, Doug. You’d think that if Bush admin officials could be held legally accountable for opinions in support of torture then Half Moon Bay officials should be held financially liable for arguing that these “wetlands” had appeared naturally.