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Redevelopment Plan Faces Obstacles

Councilwoman Marti Emerald's plan to reorganize the city's redevelopment efforts would have to overcome some procedural obstacles, but nothing that would stop her ideas cold, the City Attorney's Office reported today.

Emerald wants to combine the management of the city's redevelopment projects to save duplication of costs. Right now, project areas are overseen by three organizations, the Redevelopment Agency, the Centre City Development Corp. and the Southeastern Development Corp.

The Redevelopment Agency is a standard city department. The CCDC and SEDC are quasi-independent nonprofit corporations.

According to a report delivered to the City Council's ad hoc Redevelopment Committee, the CCDC and SEDC can merge together, but they cannot legally merge with a city department, so another way needs to be found to bring them all under the same umbrella.

Deputy City Attorney Kevin Reisch said the reorganization would have to be described as "consolidating functions" instead of an actual merger in order to pass legal muster.

Labor issues and the role the mayor would play on a future governing board have to be researched further, Reisch said.

He said he saw "no true legal impediments" that would stop Emerald's plan, which also envisions raising the legal mandate on spending for affordable housing from 20 percent to 35 percent.

Gov. Jerry Brown, in announcing his proposed budget revisions today, said he still hoped to eliminate redevelopment agencies, which could render the reorganization plan moot. However, the Legislature has not passed the phase-out of the agencies, and competing plans are being considered.

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