Properties Not Needed for ‘710’ Project Go Up for Sale

By EGP Staff Report

Caltrans is beginning the process of selling 42 residential properties it has owned for six decades along the proposed State Route 710 Corridor in Pasadena, South Pasadena and in the Los Angeles neighborhood of El Sereno, the state transportation agency announced Monday.

“The selling of these properties — that have been owned by the state for six decades — is about keeping our promise to the community to help it create a neighborhood they can be proud of,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly.

The properties were purchased long ago as part of a plan to extend the 710 Freeway from Valley Boulevard in Alhambra to the 210 Freeway in Pasadena. Due to a series of delays and legal challenges, the plan never came to fruition, leaving Caltrans in the position of landlord in the years since.

Caltrans is now exploring other options, including a double-decker tunnel, a light rail system or a busway. The agency has so far received $780 million for the 710 project through Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects approved by county voters in 2008. The price for the tunnel option is estimated at nearly $6 billion.

The properties going up for sale are among 460 the department purchased — ranging from large mansions in tony South Pasadena to modest bungalows in working class El Sereno, empty lots and apartment buildings — along the proposed corridor but which Caltrans says are now outside the scope of any of the current plans under consideration.

The transportation department has over the years been criticized for its management of the properties, including at one time charging rents significantly below market rate for larger homes, and for piling up complaints over inadequate and delayed maintenance.

A series of public meetings were held to take comments on the sale process, which at times pitted residents against the transportation agency.

Residents, including some former owners of the properties or their heirs, as well as other long time tenants, were at odds over the value of the properties, as wells as what is considered affordable in terms of rent or the potential sales price.

They also battled over interpretation of the agreement Caltrans reached decades ago with property owners regarding the disposition of properties not needed for the final transportation corridor plan.

Notices of conditional offers were mailed Friday to the current occupants of the 42 residential properties that will be sold as part of the Affordable Sales Program. Current occupants and former owners, if they meet the agency’s income requirements, are first in line to buy the homes at discounted prices.

A state law passed in 1979 to promote homeownership allows low-income renters to buy the homes at below market value. Tenants earning less than 150% of the county median income are also eligible for the below market sale price. Prospective buyers have three months to notify Caltrans if they are interested in buying the home.

Properties not sold will be then be offered for sale under a hierarchical formula established by Caltrans, with affordable housing developers taking the second option followed by current tenants with higher incomes who would be allowed to buy at market rate. Former tenants in reversed order of occupancy would be next in line, with any unsold properties to then be sold at public auction.

The department says it will also provide affordable rental options for eligible occupants and establish a trust fund for future affordable housing programs.

“This is a major step toward returning these properties to both the community and to the families who may have a chance at being a homeowner for the first time,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

Information from City News Service used in this report.


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December 22, 2016  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


One Response to “Properties Not Needed for ‘710’ Project Go Up for Sale”

  1. Charlie Peters on December 27th, 2016 12:21 am

    Dear Mr, Brian Kelly,

    RE: State “Union Member” Employee Jobs

    Would a California Self-driving Electric Transportation Fleet Study Show a Change in Number of Employees?

    Your Agency has Thousands of team Members, Lots of Jobs.

    An Audit Study Might Prove interesting To Our California Motorists.

    A Joy to See you At The DMV Capitol Regulatory Meeting.

    Can your team Recommend A Contact Who Might Help us better understand Your Plan?


    Charlie Peters
    Clean Air Performance Professionals

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