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Redevelopment Continuation Status

Redevelopment Continuation Status

As part of the strategy to close funding gaps in the State’s budget, AB1X 26 and AB1X 27 were signed by the Governor on June, 29, 2011. AB1X 26 eliminates redevelopment and suspends redevelopment agency activities, including incurring indebtedness or entering into or modifying contracts. AB1X 27 establishes a new Alternative Voluntary Redevelopment Program that allows cities to “buy-back” their agency then continue their work improving communities. On August 15, 2011, the City Council approved Ordinance No. 11-2921, which re-established the Montclair Redevelopment Agency under the Alternative Voluntary Redevelopment Program. The second reading of the Ordinance occurred on September 6, 2011.

Because the City Council voted to re-establish the Montclair Redevelopment Agency, the Agency was not required by the aforementioned new laws to file an Enforceable Obligation Payment Schedule (EOPS) by August 28, 2011. This EOPS process was reserved only for those agencies that were not planning to opt-in to the Alternative Voluntary Redevelopment Program. However, as a result of the Supreme Court’s “modified stay” issued on August 17, 2011 the opt-in legislation was “stayed,” while the legislation requiring agency wind down was left in force. This change required the Montclair Redevelopment Agency to comply with the wind down provisions and adopt an EOPS on September 21, 2011.

Housing Improvement Task Force

The City of Montclair Redevelopment Agency created the Housing Improvement Task Force (HITF) in 1986 for the purpose of improving housing conditions. Since that time, the Task Force has actively pursued numerous alternatives in search of this goal. One of the successful strategies employed has been the creation of Foundation Areas. Such areas are defined as specific neighborhoods in which the Task Force concentrates its labor and financial resources. It is in these Foundation Areas that the Task Force has been successful in improving neighborhoods. The Task Force is comprised with at least one representative from the following departments: Redevelopment, Community Development, Police, Fire/Code Enforcement, and Public Works.

The Task Force’s approach to effectuating lasting change in a Foundation Area neighborhood has been to work with the existing property owners to form an owners association. Once that has been accomplished, the City/Redevelopment Agency has provided the owners with common area improvements that otherwise would not be feasible. This approach has been quite successful as evidenced by the success of participating Foundation Areas: Helena Gardens, Cobblestone Village, and Montclair Meadows owners associations. The City/Agency’s receipt of the 1990 Helen Putnam Award in Excellence for the Helena Gardens project has led to the Agency’s approach being modeled by numerous cities statewide.

The primary goals of the Task Force are to create a sense of neighborhood, instill a feeling of security, and improve the aesthetic environment of the Foundation Areas. To accomplish these goals, several improvement and renovation plans are identified for the Foundation Areas. Participating Foundations Areas who form an Owner’s Association and abide by the Association’s rules and guidelines have received a combination of the following renovations in their improvement plans:

  1. Decorative ornamental iron fencing, with a consistent design and color in front yards.
  2. Masonry walls constructed between buildings across common side yards for private open space.
  3. Landscaping and irrigation installed in front yards with a common theme and emphasis on aesthetics, security, and low maintenance. The landscaping theme includes turf and tree planting.
  4. Entry monument signage, themed to project name.
  5. Electrically controlled gates located at alley entrances with provisions made for emergency access (police, paramedic, fire, etc.).
  6. Asphalt resurfacing in apartment alleyways.
  7. Alley improvements.
  8. Trash-enclosure construction.

For additional information, please contact Christine S. Caldwell, Assistant Housing Director, via email to ccaldwell@cityofmontclair.org or by phone at (909) 625-9413.

Foundation Areas

Housing Improvement Task Force Activities

Foundation Area 1

The Helena Gardens Foundation Area 1 project, located between Bandera and Canoga Streets and Monte Vista and Helena Avenues, is comprised of 22 property owners and 154 units. Helena Gardens, the City’s first Foundation Area was a winner of the Helen Putnam Award in 1991. As a condition of Agency assistance in 1989, the property owners in this area were required to execute Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and Owner Participation Agreements (OPAs) with the Redevelopment Agency. The property owners subsequently incorporated the Helena Gardens Property Owners’ Association and brought all the apartment units up to the “5-Star” rating as defined by the City’s Housing Improvement Task Force. Once 100 percent of the property owners signed the necessary documents, Agency-funded gating and landscape improvements began. These improvements were completed during the 1991-92 Fiscal Year.

The Association Board of Directors and Code Enforcement personnel continue the routine inspections of the Medeco locks, rear-building lights, and the standardized set of “House Rules” and policy for mandatory tenant screening practices. The Board of Directors has determined that strict tenant screening practices is the key to the continued success of the Helena Gardens Owners’ Association.

Foundation Area 5

Cobblestone Village Foundation Area 5 consists of 195 apartment units owned by 26 property owners. The units are located between Bandera and Canoga Streets, and Helena and Ramona Avenues. The program utilized approximately $500,000 in Redevelopment Agency and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to construct landscape and hardscape improvements. The improvements consist of walls, fencing, security gates, signage, trash enclosures, and new perimeter landscaping. The apartment owners have formed a property owners’ association and executed CC&Rs prior to the construction of the hardscape and landscape improvements.

The Cobblestone Village Owners’ Association continues to hold monthly meetings. These meetings provide property owners an opportunity to gather together to troubleshoot and brainstorm issues related to the association and environs.

Foundation Area 10

After years of working with the owners in Foundation Area 10, construction improvements began in Fiscal Year 1996-97. Foundation Area 10, hereafter referred to as Montclair Meadows, consists of the 10300-10400 block of Pradera Avenue, a cul-de-sac bounded on the north by Kingsley Street. The neighborhood includes 40 apartment units and a single-family dwelling, owned by 14 property owners.

Problems in Montclair Meadows included deteriorated landscaping, lack of screened trash enclosures, and a general lack of quality and identity for the area. The recently constructed neighborhood improvements include new common landscaping and irrigation, decorative pavement and walks, masonry trash enclosures, and identification signage. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Agency funds in the amount of approximately $350,000 were utilized for the Montclair Meadows improvements.

Foundation Area 11

The Foundation Area 11 neighborhood includes the multifamily properties located north of the I-10 Freeway, east of Mills Avenue, south of San Jose Street, and west of Ramona Avenue. The alley improvements that were completed in Fiscal Year 2001-02 have made a tremendous visual and practical impact. The previous drainage problems were addressed and the alleys—and the overall neighborhood—have a cleaner appearance. For over five years the City/Agency worked with the property owners in effectuating these improvements. The cost of the entire project was approximately $700,000.

The Phase 1 improvements included alley repaving, curb and gutter construction, construction of trash enclosures, and the paving of parking areas in all three alleys. Specific trash enclosure-construction and the paving of parking areas were only included on those properties in which the owners had executed an Owners Participation Agreement (OPA) with the City of Montclair Redevelopment Agency. The OPAs commit the property owners to formation of a future owners association in exchange for further property improvements (Phase 2 improvements). Through formation of an owners association, the property owners will be responsible for screening prospective tenants using City/Agency-developed standards, and maintaining their properties to the City’s 5-Star Standards.

Construction of Phase 2 improvements requires full participation of all the property owners in the targeted area. Phase 2 improvements are proposed to include the installation of extensive landscaping improvements, fencing construction, security gates, and monument signage. Combined, these elements will tie the properties together as one cohesive (and well-designed) neighborhood. Property owner participation for the targeted Foundation Area is currently 80 percent. City/Agency has begun the process of developing the CC&Rs and hopes to have formation of the owners association completed by the end of Fiscal Year 2004-05.

Amherst Avenue Improvement Project

The Montclair Housing Corporation was involved in the substantial rehabilitation of five of the nine multifamily properties purchased by the Agency on Amherst Avenue, which was completed in October 2003. Construction was funded through a loan to the Montclair Housing Corporation from the Agency’s Housing Fund. The project, which took years in the making, was a comprehensive undertaking that is bound to have future positive benefits to the surrounding properties as well as the neighborhood block as a whole.

During the course of the years 1998 through 2003, the Redevelopment Agency acquired a total nine four-plexes on Amherst Avenue. Staff began working with a development group to discuss the development of an element of the San Antonio Gateway project that may include the substantial rehabilitation of apartments and a build-out of numerous vacant properties adjacent to the Agency-owned properties. With a real potential to develop existing vacant and underutilized properties, it was staff’s recommendation that the rehabilitation construction project only include five of the eight Agency-owned properties. It was recommended that the construction project include all the properties located on the east side of Amherst Avenue and one property located on the west side of the street at 4275 Kingsley Street. This property is located on the southwest corner of Amherst Avenue and Kingsley Street and is integral to the project in that it is on the corner and will serve as an entry statement into the neighborhood. The neighborhood is sometimes referred to as Foundation Area 9.

The construction project included the following items:

  1. Removal and replacement of existing hardscape.
  2. Reconstruction of existing second-story landings for the properties located at 10313, 10323, and 10333 Amherst Avenue.
  3. Installation of landscape irrigation and extensive landscape planting.
  4. Demolition of the existing swimming pools at the properties located at 10313, 10323, and 10333 Amherst Avenue.
  5. Construction of wood fencing and slump stone perimeter walls.
  6. Exterior painting of the buildings.

The landscape designs links all five properties together through a complementary planting design. The planting materials, hardscape, and building paint colors are repeated throughout the properties thereby creating a unifying project. Play areas for the children were incorporated into the design plan making it unique to the neighborhood.

A total of 32 families have benefited from the plethora of rental opportunities made possible by this project. The project has had an enormously positive effect on the neighborhood. The once eyesores have been replaced with generous landscaping and hardscape design elements. An Open House was held in October 2003 to introduce the project to the public.

For additional information, please contact Christine S. Caldwell, Assistant Housing Director, via email at ccaldwell@cityofmontclair.org or by phone at (909) 625-9413.

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