Community Voices

City sells public land for parking lot

Fullerton City Council is racing to sell public land, an existing City-owned parking lot at Pomona Ave and Chapman Ave. This lot is the site of a proposed new parking structure to serve the required parking for the new Fox Block development. The plan is to cut all traffic from Ellis Place and route traffic form Harbor Blvd onto Pomona Ave.

“This is a project was earmarked back in 1991 by the redevelopment agencies. The City Council has $6 million that’s been allocated for funding of a public parking structure and related improvements. The applicant [Fronteir Realty] approached the city to acquire the property to construct, operate, and maintain the parking structure,” said the Interim Community and Economic Development director, Sunayana Thomas at the November 15 City Council meeting.

The City would contribute $6 million that was approved by the Department of Finance. “The restriction that it had to be used as a parking facility would really offset some of the needs for the Fox Theater as well,” said Thomas, “The consent item is about the purchase and sale agreement for approval and of course City Manager authorization to just finish off the agreement as necessary.”

Jane Rands said, “We have a desperate need for housing and the best way to have affordable housing is to use public land. As well, we have approval to use $6 million of hard to find money in this city for a parking structure. We have parking downtown. I suggest that if we are going to create parking maybe it should be to support more housing. We are ignoring the affordable housing issue. We have a choice right now. I am humbly asking you to not sell this property to this developer or work with them to develop an option for housing.”

Jane Reifer said, “I’d like to reiterate my comments about the history of the trenching and so forth, but I’d also like to mention the buildings must be protected and there’s no mitigation because there wasn’t a proper EIR and historic analysis on this. So please do that to protect our historic buildings. Also, I remember when the ENA was first being given there was going to be housing on top of the parking structure. There’s no reason why that couldn’t still be done for the public benefit. If they’re buying land from us and we’re contributing $6 million I would like to know what is the developer contributing above and beyond that is benefiting us? In other words, why are we giving this exclusive negotiating agreement to them? What are we getting back for it, what public benefit are we getting for it? Again I would like to see a good pedestrian network throughout this. Around the parking structure and the conflict areas of the driveway should be attended to. We have lots of sidewalks that have direct conflicts with busy driveways. I would like that to stop. I really would like to know what more the city is getting or could get rather than just selling the land and having the parking structure built with our $6 million.”

The public will have another chance to speak on this topic at a special meeting held on December 6 at 4:30pm.

To learn more about the Surplus Land Act go to: www.hcd.ca.gov/community- development/docs/sla_guidelines _final.pdf

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