In reaction to the OC Register’s investigative reporting on the redevelopment debacle east of Downtown Santa Ana, the City Council has come back with a supposed plan to develop the blight they created. You can read the article HERE. The powers that be at the Santa Ana City Hall went in and bought up several acres of property under the threat that they would use eminent domain to force them out. Being that most of the residents were working class immigrant families, they gave in to the City Hall shakedown. But the city had no plan. This reminds me of the South Park episode when the “underpants gnomes” presented Stan and Kyle their business plan. Step 1: Collect Property, Step 2: We don’t know, Step 3: Profit.
When the City was called to the carpet on this rediculous business plan, they quickly tried to put a plan together. The problem is, they are once again engaging in spot planning, despite the fact that is is going on two decades that the General Plan has not been updated. They are choosing once again to go with spot planning by giving a contract to two companies to study what needs to be done with the property and create a “Station District.” Problem is there is no mandate to reserve area for park space, something so desperately needed in this city and it only includes the vacant properties, not the entire neighborhood.
My concern is once again, the city continues to allow developers to dictate what areas should be zoned what and continue to throw away money on consultants when the real plan should be updating the GENERAL PLAN. There have already been two studies in attempts to get the controversial Rennaisance Plan off the ground and like the other two, the city is continuing their culture of secrecy in how Santa Ana is developed.
The so-called meetings with the community need to be watched very carefully. When the city is involved, they usually ensure only their supporters know what is going on and make it as hard as possible for potential critics to know when these meetings are. I call on the developers and the City of Santa Ana to do massive outreach to gather input for that area. One requirement, and the community needs to push for this, is for at least 2 acres to be designated for a park. We need to follow this one and make sure the City Council listens to the real will of the people.