Redevelopment Assets on the Line at Tuesday Council Meeting

City recommends that it turn over all RDA assets and staff responsibilities to the county, including affordable complexes in Hamilton.

Potential risks, unknown factors an administrative costs are leading the city of Novato to recommend the release of housing responsibilities previously owned by the city’s redevelopment agency and allow the county take them over, according to a city document.

It will be up to the Novato City Council to decide Tuesday night whether to adopt that recommendation and let the Marin County Housing Authority assume duties for all the redevelopment agency’s past issues.

Housing assets of the soon-to-be-defunct Novato Redevelopment Agency include deed covenants and restrictions for complexes in Hamilton such as Meadow Park (351 condominiums), Creekside and Bay Vista (297 apartments) as well as Villa Entrada (67 condos) on the west side of Highway 101 in the Pointe Marin neighborhood.

The city, which owns the land on which those complexes were built, would sacrifice the right to repurchase any foreclosed properties in those complexes if the council follows the staff recommendation. The question of whether the city had the money to buy any more foreclosed properties is up for debate; voters approved a five-year, half-cent sales tax increase in 2010 just to help the city balance its books.

Last year, the state Legislature followed Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies to save money, and all such agencies are to be dissolved by Feb. 1 unless city councils make a move to spend local money to retain all the assets and staffing needed to handle redevelopment functions.

The Novato Public Finance Authority oversaw financing activities and operational transactions of city-owned properties, including those Hamilton sites. But last year all of that was transferred to the city.

Clark Blasdell, chairman and CEO of Novato-based NorthBay Family Homes and the Suburban Alternatives Land Trust, said there are no assets of the Novato Redevelopment Agency that could result in additional housing in the Hamilton area. He said one city-owned, 2 ½ -acre spot off Hamilton Parkway — just east of Homeward Bound of Marin and just north of the planned Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit station — was heavily marketed as a location for affordable housing, but no developers were secured.

According to a city staff report, transferring city housing assets and staff functions to Marin Housing Authority would save the city countless hours of administrative time and approximately $75,000 to $125,000 annually depending on the amount of oversight and involvement.

The Marin Housing Authority is better-suited to oversee affordable housing in Novato because it is a more specialized agency and it already performs similar functions for other Marin cities, according to the staff report.

A state senate bill, SB 654, is working its way through channels that would give the county housing authority permission to decline Novato’s housing assets and functions and turn it over to the state.

Also on the council’s agenda for Tuesday is a second reading of the approval of a new commercial/retail development on the site of the at 7370 Redwood Blvd.

The Novato City Council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at .

Tina McMillan January 26, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Bud I have written to the council, to Mr. Frank and volunteered to serve on the planning commission. I continue to post to Patch because it provides an opportunity to reach a broader audience by presenting the problem along with research. If people have an opinion on the topic they can also write to the council, to Mr. Frank and volunteer for public service. Using Patch as a vehicle to get people talking about local issues has been a very positive experience for me. From your commentary, which appears to follow my posts, it seems that you are focused on telling others what to do. Perhaps you can refocus on the issues and let everyone decide for themselves how best to help.
Linda January 26, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Tina, With all your comments on Patch, I can tell you Nobody on the city Council Or City managers office wants you on any commission . I was told that they want people who listen and not people who have a say on everything that goes on in this town . I was also told you personally backed someone who lost for the last city council election and for that reason alone you will never be on any commission as they know which direction you would try and take the council . Please think before you speak in the future as 99.9 percent of the people on here really don't care what you think
Mark Burnham January 26, 2012 at 02:36 PM
keep up the great work tina, all of your research and your thoughtful and respectful commentaries are appreciated greatly. as for you linda (aka bud light, bill e goat, do ya think) you should spend more time thinking critically about the issues as opposed to creating new monikers for yourself.
Lou Judson January 26, 2012 at 02:42 PM
The acrimonious debate between small egotists is making Patch less of a news source and more of a backyard fence filled with trivial grafitti. Glad the elections are over, as I had to unsubrcribe from Novato Patch due to your petty self serving bickering. I'll stop reading the comment again soon! I'm interested n the issues, not all of you small time politicos aka egotists. Stop being such children! And how many of you use your real names? Call me BobbyBoo if you wish.
Craig Belfor January 26, 2012 at 02:58 PM
WOW! I'm one of the 1%! I never thought I'd make it, but I'm a supporter if Tina, have a job, don't get welfare, have never been arrested, and married the mother of my children! I know this makes me the village idiot, but I'm ok with that, as are the other people in my club.


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