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San Juan Capistrano City Council Will Become Successor of City’s Redevelopment Agency

January 11, 2012

From the Orange County Register – The San Juan Capistrano City Council will become the successor to the city’s Redevelopment Agency and form a housing authority to take over the agency’s housing functions, according to a unanimous decision at a special council meeting Tuesday.

As the successor agency, the council will have greater control over the process of liquidating agency assets to pay the $52 million owed by the agency in debt and other obligations.

Forming a housing authority provides similar control and will allow the city to continue its affordable-housing programs, including the subsidized living program in Little Hollywood that provides 34 homeless families with apartments and townhomes. The housing authority will consist of council members and two members of the public.

A report from Tom Clark, the agency’s legal counsel, allayed fears that the city would lose control of the agency’s $13.8 million real estate portfolio.

A state law dissolving redevelopment agencies as of Feb. 1 includes language that will allow the city to keep the properties owned by the Redevelopment Agency as long as they are used for governmental purposes, Clark said.

The law does not define such purposes but lists roads, schools, parks and fire stations as examples.

Clark said that section of the law protects almost all the properties owned by the Redevelopment Agency. Those include the three downtown parking lots, the Camino Real Playhouse, the Blas Aguilar Adobe, Historic Town Center Park, Los Rios Park and the San Juan Capistrano Sports Park, among others.

The news came as a relief to Tom Scott, president of the Camino Real Playhouse. The theater was a product of the Redevelopment Agency, and Scott said it serves 10,000 patrons a year, in addition to training youths in the ways of theater.

“Thank you for recognizing the community contributions that the theater makes,” Scott said.

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