Friday, January 15, 2010

Fight Eminent Domain in Anaheim!

As a follow up to the last post of the WAND meeting, I have to say that the State's lack of public disclosure regarding High Speed Rail shocks even me. It became very clear, and Councilwoman Kring confirmed my suspicions, that even the Anaheim City Council has yet to be presented with the Alternatives Analysis that lists the properties the State will take by eminent domain if the rail remains At Grade. It is essential that we attend the meeting on Wednesday, January 20, City Council Chambers. The information is available Open House style from 5 pm to 7 pm, and a presentation will be made at 5:30 pm.

It is very important that we share the following information, to be placed in the public record:

1) This meeting is the first opportunity that Anaheim citizens have had to review the Alternatives Analysis. There is an assumption in Sacramento that because Anaheim is not screaming bloody murder like other cities, that we are OK with the plan. That would make sense, how could Sacramento imagine our own Mayor had not bothered to tell us about this? So make sure that you fill out a comment card or speak at Public Comments if they allow it, and make the point that we have NOT been informed prior to this!

2) The At Grade alternative takes property by eminent domain, and is unnacceptable. We want a Deep Bore Tunnel that avoids disruption of homes and businesses, as well as utilities. There is a fear of where will the money come from for a tunnel. But at a meeting of the State Legislature's Transportation Committeee, Curt Pringle said that the Federal Government, in their requirements for the Federal Stimulus funds, required us to list the MOST EXPENSIVE scenario imaginable to base our budgets on. While this was a vague statement during a larger review by the LAO of the HSR Business Plan, that would appear to me to say that we have already budgeted for the tunnel, so let's demand it!

3) We want more public input for the project, to ensure that we are notified of any changes in the future. Be sure to sign up for mailing lists while you are there, and stay informed. These people are under immense pressure to complete the paperwork. The entire statewide Environmental Report (an overwhelming document) must be finished by September of 2011, in order to qualify for the Federal stimulus funds! These people have no incentive to come back and tell us if something has changed, as we have seen by the way this Alternatives Analysis has been handled. Running information past us might just result in us objecting to it, which creates delays. Delays run the risk of not completing the Environmental Report. Now I would not say that anyone would deliberately hide information from the public to get a multi-billion dollar project done, at least not in my outside voice that gets me sued. But I will just ask you to stay on these people, ask for additional mailings, be sure that we stay informed and involved.

Here is a list of the properties affected if the train remains At Grade. I have listed the rather generic wording that the HSR people used to describe the properties in red, and then I follow with notes I  have on each property. I am afraid i seem to have lost the ability to pull up the photos I had shot of these properties, when my computer died and I replaced it. But I hope this gives you a better overview of what is at stake.

Approx. 35' wide ROW takes are needed along the west side of the corridor between Vermont Ave. to the south and North St, to the north. adjacent to the west side of the 50' ROW there are approx 1.5 miles of industrial property takes, 0.7 miles of residential takes, and 0.2 mile park take.

Starting in the south, between Vermont Ave. and South St. there are three Industrial buildings that are within the ROW take area. The southern two buildings immediately abut on the ROW and would lose approximately 35' of building area (approx. 20% of the entire buildings).the northern most building has about a 15' setback from the ROW and would lose approx. 20' of the building area (approx. 20% of the entire building).there is also a parking area that would lose approx. 35' of space and between 20 and 30 parking spaces.

NOTE: These buildings include 2 pieces of the L3 Communications Campus. This defense contractor employs 500 people, according to their website, most on the Anaheim Campus. They build high tech weapons systems, work that is not easily relocated to another site and work that provides higher income pay scales for skilled workers.

L3 Communications


707 E. Vermont Street

The third building on the block is shown in public records as American Management Consultants

The number of employees is unknown, but their work in Immigration and Naturalization processing may trigger some Social Justice issues under CEQA, which is not mentioned in the Alternatives Analysis.

American Management Consultants

700 E. South Street

North of South St. the ROW abuts recently constructed high-density residential units. Parking and auto access are constructed directly adjacent to the ROW. With the approx. 35' wise ROW take focused on these areas. But, additionally ROW will be required elsewhere to replace the affected parking and auto access areas.

NOTE: Colony Park recently constructed as RDA affordable project, in first phase of multi-phase project. The consultants also fail to list the loss of a cell tower in the background.

Between South St. and Santa Ana St. There are three industrial buildings with parking spaces and storage area. The southern building is new and is set back from the ROW approx. 30 to 35 feet. Loading areas run along the eastern side of the building. The loading areas would be lost and it is uncertain if the building would be affected. Just to the north of this building is a parking lot that would lose approx. 35' of space and between 40 and 50 parking spaces. North of the parking lot is a smaller older industrial building with a storage area to the north of it that would probably require a take of the entire property.

NOTE: The consultants are describing the old Kwikset site, which shows a clear lack of contact to the City of Anaheim, as the development of this parcel into the next phase of Colony Park has been on the books for years. In addition, the City Council approved the next phase of development to this site, AFTER the Alternatives Analysis was released.

Between Santa Ana St. and Broadway there are three industrial buildings with parking spaces and storage area. The southernmost building is sufficiently set back so as not to be affected, but it would the storage area it has between the building and the ROW. The industrial building immediately to the north abuts on the ROW and it would lose approx. 35' of building area (approx. 33% of the entire building). Just to the north of this building is a parking lot that would lose approx. 35' of space and between 20 and 30 parking spaces. North of the parking lot is an industrial building that is setback approx. 20' from the ROW, and thus approx 15' of the building area would be taken (approx. 15% of the entire building).

NOTE: this description refers to Firmenich, an Anaheim employer that creates fragrances and flavorings for the food industry (AKA the smell factory. Not much information is available on the internet, but one may assume by the size of the site and the full parking lots during business hours that this is a major employer, who does not seem to have space to spare. In addition, the site was originally developed as MCP foods, when Herb Leo pioneered the manufacture of stabilized pectin, which changes the citrus industry in California. Herb Leo’s Anaheim home was declared historically significant, and if original structures remain on campus there is the potential for them to qualify for Local and State historic recognition.

Between Broadway and Lincoln Ave. there is a mini park (Citrus Park) and associated parking lot, and the Y Children’s Station (located in the former UP Railroad Station building). The park would lose a 35' wide strip of land along the ROW (approx. 30% of the parks land area). And approx. five parking spaces. The Y Children’s Station building would be a total take. The parkland lost to the widening could be recouped on the excess land gained by the take of the Y Children’s Station property

NOTE: YMCA Train Station is historically significant, according to maps of historic resources provided by the City of Anaheim. This lack of documentation further proves the consultants lack of communication with those agencies and organizations commonly contacted during CEQA compliance. In addition, the City of Anaheim’s Redevelopment Agency recently funded the relocation and rehabilitation of the structure, as well as taxpayer funding for the newly created Citrus Park. Citrus Park is also the only open space in the immediate area, in a City that lags behind Manhattan for green space, according to a recent report by the Kennedy Commission.

Between Lincoln Ave. and Cypress St. there are four single family (SF) houses that are set back approx. 20' from the ROW (location of their backyard fence). The two southern SF houses are separated by the two northern SF houses by a private mini park with tot lot and basketball court uses. The 35' ROW widening would take the entire backyard of the southernmost SF house, which has approx. 15' of backyard area. This would place the back of the house immediately on the property line. Thus, this would have to potential to take this SF house. The other three SF houses have larger backyards and would lose about 15' of area but keeping 20' of backyard between the house and the property line. The tot lot and the basketball area would have to relocate on the private park area.

NOTE: Newer KB Homes, ironically developed to replace older bungalows taken out by a previous transportation project to grade separate the railroad.

Between Cypress St. and Adele St. There is an industrial use the immediately abuts the ROW. The land closest to the ROW is used for parking/storage. The closest point of the building is set back from the property line by approx. 35'. It appears the 35' widening would only remove eastern most parking/storage areas; there appears to be ample parking/storage area on the west side of the building,

NOTE: This company makes trailers and transportation equipment. The parking lot was full on a holiday, and overflows during workdays.

Between Adele St. and Sycamore St. there are two industrial uses separated by an alley. The southernmost of the two uses abuts the ROW and the 35' widening would require the taking of this property. The northern industrial use has one building and parking/storage area within the 35' widening area. The building appears to be a storage building. This use should be able to continue in operation after the widening.

NOTE: The northern industrial use is actually the headquarters for a landscape company. While the taking of the parking and storage area does not remove a structure, it renders the rear building entirely inaccessible to employees, the equivalent of a take.

Between Sycamore St. and Wilhelmina St. there is one long industrial building that abuts the ROW. The 35' widening would require the taking of this property.

NOTE: This structure is divided into multiple "for lease" units, impacting many employers, and depleting Anaheim’s income from business taxes. Also calculate loss of sales tax, building materials are revenue generators.

Limited ROW takes needed at grade separations to preserve access to properties facing lowered streets.

NOTE: Remember what happened the last time government grade separated something in the Colony? Go look at how many homes were taken out by the Lincoln underpass and tell me this is a good thing.

If this scares you as much as it scares me, please attend the meeting on Wednesday, make it clear that we want a Deep Bore Tunnel, or no train at all! Thank you.


Unknown said...

Great job detailing what is going on!

I hope you get the word out through this blog.

Spokker said...

You seem to think that construction a deep bore tunnel has no impact. A good amount of space is required to get the giant tunnel boring machines underground in the first place. Tunnel boring machines can be as long as 500 feet. There is a possibility that eminent domain would have to be used for the construction staging area.