Chula Vista to Eliminate Redevelopment Corporation?

Chula Vista is considering doing away with the nonprofit corporation that advises the city council and the city’s Redevelopment Agency and Housing Authority on redevelopment projects.

On May 3, the city council, in a 3-2 vote, directed the staff to return in 60 days with a report that considers the impact of dissolving the Chula Vista Redevelopment Corporation.

The redevelopment corporation includes engineers, architects, and developers from around the county. Councilmember Patricia Aguilar, who made the motion to reconsider the structure and the value of the corporation, said she would like to consider a process for redevelopment projects that retains the expertise of professionals on the board of directors while streamlining the process.

Aguilar brought up several reasons for considering dissolution. She said that when the corporation was created, there was the hope that it “would spur redevelopment; however, that has not happened.” Additionally, Aguilar cited a 2008 report from the city that stated the annual cost of maintaining the organization was $140,000.

Mayor Cheryl Cox and councilmember Pamela Bensoussan opposed the motion.

Bensoussan said that the redevelopment corporation was a group of professionals who gave of their expertise freely. She also said the timing for this move was bad and sends the message to the business community “that we are not open for business.”

Cox said that she had a “bias” in favor of retaining the corporation because she had been a founding member of its predecessor, the Urban Development Committee. She argues the body “brings lots of opportunities to the city of Chula Vista.”

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The CVRC should have been abolished when the RAC was scuttled. I sat in the meeting way back when the UDC met jointly with the city council. It was all blue sky and rosy clouds. Jerry Rindone waxed eloquently about his desire to see cranes on our landscape. None of it ever happened! The CVRC cancels more meetings than they hold; we can't afford this drain on our meager resources. We also should not be wasting the time of those who sit on CVRC.

Redevelopment will most likely become a moot question for any city.

It seems to me we had redevelopment before we had the CVRC and it worked just as well or just as poorly as it works now, so why have this extra crust? I can't recall what the steps were for a project before the CVRC but simplicity is best. What has the CVRC accomplished?

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