View Full Version : Anaheim City Council votes 4 to 1 to place SunCal Zoning change on June 3rd ballot

08-22-2007, 04:28 PM
The Anaheim City Council voted 4 to 1, with Ms. Galloway being opposed to place the proposed zoning change on the June 3rd, 2008 ballot, which is a scheduled State Primary.

Other initiatives, including the SOAR initiative, that needs to be submitted by September 21st might end up on the same ballot.

08-22-2007, 04:29 PM
Interesting News Article from Tuesday afternoon, PRIOR to the council meeting...

http://www.ocregister.com/news/disne...eting-galloway (http://www.ocregister.com/news/disney-council-anaheim-1816425-meeting-galloway)

Last-minute talks fail with Disney

Galloway said Monday's meeting included officials from Disney, SunCal and the two other home developers. Her request required:

Disney's commitment to lead a fund-raising effort with other businesses to contribute $25 million for affordable housing units over five years.

Negotiations with three developers to remove their land from the Anaheim Resort boundaries so they could build homes there.

Reduction of homes on the SunCal property and inclusion of other uses.

Dropping of the lawsuit.

"It was my attempt at an honorable resolution so the city could move forward," Galloway said.

Frank Elfend, SunCal's consultant, said he was open to the ideas. "I think she had several elements which would have benefited both parties," Elfend said.

Sorry, but those "requirements" are way too one sided.

08-22-2007, 04:30 PM
The Referendum that was approved for placement on the ballot is based on the Zoning Change that the Council approved for the Mobile Park Land. The Referendum was to have the citizens disagree with the council's action. Once the 10% requirement was gathered and submitted, then the council's actions was placed on hold. Now the council has set an election on the matter, which will have the citizens vote on June 3rd, if 50% plus 1 of the voters decide to agree with the referendum (that the city council zoning change be overturned), then the zoning change is cancelled. If SunCal wants to try again, they can propose a different plan and start right away, but from the beginning in front of the zoning commission, or they can wait at least one year, and start over with the exact same plan.

Now, one of the reasons the city council picked the June ballot instead of the February ballot was to allow one, if not two more matters to be placed on the ballot. One is expected to be filed between now and September 21st. SOAR (the Disney backed group) has already started to gather the 15% signature requirement, and claims they have gotten enough signatures to submit (and have not been actively seeking signatures). This initiative would require a vote by the public for any zoning change in the entire current Resort area that would be different than the current approved uses in the area (basically commercial and tourist related uses, such as hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment). The council will more than likely place the issue on the June ballot if it is found they have enough valid signatures.

The possible third item would be another initiative that would deal specifically the "Strawberry Field" property that Disney owns. CDPA (the SunCal developer backed proposal) wants this on the ballot, in which any use other than the current parking and farming uses be approved by the voters. IMHO this is just a spite vote, in fact I even have asked a CDPA employee (Jubal aka Matt Cunningham over at the OC Blog) why this ballot initiative would help or improve the city of Anaheim and its citizens. Of course, there is no good answer. Also, CDPA is trying to get out of gathering the 15% signature requirement and get the City Council to just place it on the ballot. If the city council does this, people have stated they will take the matter to the Grand Jury to look into favoritism to the developer in this entire matter, and SunCal has had a lot of "favors" so far in getting this approved so far. If the CDPA initiative gets approved in time (about 3 months in advance as a minimum) so by February, it will also go on the June ballot, which is what CDPA wants, to help "confuse" voters over all 3 measures.

It is going to be an interesting 8 months.

08-22-2007, 04:31 PM
Here are a few thoughts and comments about info I gathered from watching the Public Comments and Council Debate about the Referendum to overturn the council's zoning change.

Public comments for the Zoning change (Item #54) started just after 5:30 PM.

One of the earlier speakers made the point this really isn't about Disney, but about a zoning change that approved High Density Housing in the area.

The Anaheim Zoning Commission denied the zoning change, and only by the City Council taking the matter up (on their own) and then overturning the zoning commission has the item gotten this far.

One of the heads of the Orange County Tax Association makes the point that the zoning change breaks the deal made back in 1994 to make the area commercial and to help all the businesses in the area.

I have to give kudos to Larry, who came up to speak to the council. He stated he is a Jungle Cruise skipper, and talked about the benefits of what Disney has done for Anaheim. He also spent the majority of time addressing the public, not the council members. I was impressed with how he handled his short time at the podium (max of 3 minutes). Once again, Larry... way to go!

A Building Union member came up and stated that 11 different unions are against the zoning change. He stated the unions are in favor of affordable housing, but not in this location. He stated that he thought this zoning change was all about Money, Greed and was a Land Grab for SunCal.

Another speaker talked about how a lot of this has been a Smoke Screen, and a personal agenda is driving the real issue.

The Co-Chair of SOAR brought up the fact of future dollars, and how Garden Grove has been getting a lot of the business that Anaheim could have gotten if they would have solidly stood behind the entire Resort Area. (Such as new hotels, restaurants and shops).

The Mayor brought up the fact just prior to the main council meeting, they were having a dealing with affordable housing for the City of Anaheim, and that 1,429 units were currently under construction in the city.

I presume there will be some quiet periods in the next few months, but we know the following will happen.

SOAR will submit its Initiative signatures for verification in the next month (prior to September 21st). And if they have enough valid signatures, then the matter will go in front of the City Council (and more public comments) for placement on a ballot.

The CDPA has to figure out what to do with there "Strawberry Field" initiative, and what to do. Do they submit it directly to the City Council for placement on the ballot without the need to gather signatures. And does the City Council approve it. And if they do, how strong is the case for favoritism against the council? And does that threat keep the city council from placing it on the ballot without signatures.

And if CDPA decides to bypass the council, or if the council refuses to place the initiative on the ballot without signatures, what does CDPA decide to do?

They could either drop the 3rd matter, and just focus its time, money and effort on getting the two SOAR matters defeated in June, or do they spend Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars to get the required 15% of registered voters signatures. And can they get enough signatures in the 6 month period. If they attempt to gather signatures, then there will be ongoing ad campaigns on both sides, and of course plenty of news stories and press releases from both sides. So that will keep the story going straight thru until June.

But if the council waives the signature requirement, or if CDPA decides to drop the Strawberry Field measure, then things will quiet down in the next couple of months until after Easter, when the two groups both kick the ad campaigning into high gear for the June election.

Whatever happens, it will be interesting to watch....

08-22-2007, 05:13 PM
Save Our Anaheim Resort Press Release


Measure Would Let Voters Decide on Protecting Long-term Vision of Anaheim Resort District

ANAHEIM, Calif. (August 22, 2007) —The Save Our Anaheim Resort (SOAR) coalition today delivered 31,348 signatures to the Anaheim City Clerk, 10,000 more than required, to place an initiative on the ballot that will give voters the right to approve any future changes to the original tourist-serving vision of the Anaheim Resort District.

The initiative addresses the long-term need to protect the Resort District, its boundaries and land uses, according to the 4,650-member SOAR coalition. The Resort District is less then 5% of the city, yet generates over 50% of Anaheim’s’ annual tax revenue.

SOAR also led the successful drive to place a referendum on the ballot to overturn a high-density housing development in the Resort District, which was approved by a 3-2 Council vote in April. On Tuesday night, the Council placed the referendum on the June 3 ballot. Combined, SOAR has collected more that 52,000 signatures from Anaheim citizens to protect the Resort District.

“The Resort District was created to support tourism businesses. As a result, it is the largest single source of tax revenue for city services,” said Todd Ament, co-chairman of SOAR and president and CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. “We will do what’s necessary to preserve this economic engine that funds vital services such as police and fire protection in Anaheim.”

"The momentum to protect the Anaheim Resort Area is now in full swing. Combined with last night's action to ask the voters to correct the Council's ill-advised decision to allow residential units into a portion of the resort, this initiative will protect and strengthen the entire Resort Area for generations to come,” said Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle.

"The beauty of democracy is the right of voters to have their voices heard on important issues. I'm proud to live in a community that is so committed to ensuring the long-term protection of our city's fiscal foundation and the desire to protect that economic engine found in the Resort Area," the Mayor added.

“This is an important day for Anaheim, as the people who signed these petitions have spoken and their message is clear … Protect the Anaheim Resort Area as the largest economic engine in this City. I applaud the efforts of SOAR to let the voice of the people be heard,” said Margaret Pashko, Chair, Anaheim Chamber of Commerce.

Specifically, the SOAR Initiative would:

• Require voter approval to change the City’s General Plan policies for the Anaheim Resort District.

• Require voter approval to change the list of land uses allowed in the Anaheim Resort District.

• Require voter approval to change Anaheim Resort District boundaries.

• Require an Environmental Impact Report to be completed before any housing project could be built in the Anaheim Resort District and before any change to the allowed land uses could be made.

The Resort District was created in 1994 and established land uses limited to tourist-serving uses, such as theme parks, hotels, restaurants and convention facilities. It covers less than five percent of the land in the City of Anaheim yet generates more than half of Anaheim’s tax revenues.

Visitors to the Resort District pay hotel and sales taxes that go directly to the City of Anaheim’s General Fund. From 1994 to 2006, the contribution from the hotel tax alone more than doubled from $33 million to $80 million annually. Anaheim’s annual revenue from tourism is ten times higher than any other city in Orange County.

SOAR is a broad coalition of more than 4,650 concerned Anaheim businesses, labor unions, homeowner groups and residents, who want a permanent solution for the future of the Anaheim Resort District and believe voters have a right to decide.

Information about the referendum and initiative drives is available by contacting the SOAR office at the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce offices, 201 E. Center Street, Anaheim, CA. Phone: (714) 400-0734. Web site: www.soaranaheim.com (http://www.soaranaheim.com/)

08-24-2007, 03:50 PM
If SunCal wants to have the registered voters of Anaheim vote in their favor, why not do some or all of the following, based on Ms. Galloway's list in the news article (see post #2 above).

Increase the percentage of Affordable Housing for its project, from 15% to 30 to 50% of the project.

Take a portion of the over $60 million that SunCal will make just in the increased land value due to the rezoning and give it to the city of Anaheim to help pay for the increased serviced that will be needed with the new residents, such as adding school classrooms and teachers. Say $20 to $30 million of that profit that the City Council tried to give SunCal just by the act of rezoning.

Submitting an actual plan for the property and an environmental report prior to the June election so the citizens can make an informed decision.

Working with the businesses in the Resort Area to make sure no other area is removed from the commercial/tourism uses, which brings in a lot of tax revenue that benefits the entire city.

Of course, you won't see SunCal do any of this, as they are just interesting in the Tens of Millions of dollars they will make on the project, and are trying to avoid spending anything they don't have to, heck they haven't even bought the property in question yet.

Jim Hawkins
08-25-2007, 06:28 AM
Firstly, when you have 3 of the 5 council votes why spend any money you dont have to?

Secondly, by the time citizens move into the new housing, the developers will be onto their next project in a different city. They have no interest in what happens after they leave.

The biggest problem with the rezoning is the cost that the City will absorb. Any gain in Property tax or sales tax by the new residents wont cover a fraction of the expenses as outlined in the previous post.

Will SOAR do any local commercials prior to the vote outling the added cost to the citizens, and the strain on the local infrastucture? And what will SunCal counter with?

Disney Resort
08-25-2007, 08:58 AM
50% of the entire city of Anaheim's revenue comes from the Disney Resort. I remember the (dark) days when prostitutes walked in front of Disneyland and the surrounding area was more decaying inner city than theme park area.
Disney went to a lot of expense to revitalize the area and make it what it is today.
But you have to remember the Anaheim City Council, including the mayor, are average everyday citizens making a measly living. Mayor Pringle runs a carpet store. So a developer has no problem at all "greasing the palms" of a city council that can be easily bought out.