The sale of a large parcel of may be imminent.
The 16-acre parcel north of Stonehill Drive known as Lower Rosan Ranch that currently serves as vehicle storage is the one piece of property owned by the now-defunct San Juan Capistrano Redevelopment Agency considered truly surplus.
With all the former redevelopment agencies looking to unload surplus property in accordance with a new law, Councilwoman Laura Freese is worried the rush to sell might drive the price down on the multimillion-dollar property.
“If every agency in California is dumping property to dispose of it expeditiously right now, are we glutting the market?” she asked.
Tom Clark, a lawyer the city hired to handle redevelopment matters, said if the members of the Redevelopment Agency’s successor agency – uncreatively named the – deem it beneficial to wait for a better market, they can do that.
On the other hand, Freese acknowledged, several parties have expressed interest in the property recently.
The Oversight Board met for the first time Monday to discuss the new agency’s assets and financial obligations.
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Where once the members of the City Council would magically become the five directors of the Redevelopment Agency in the middle of council meetings, now the governing body has seven members, and only three are San Juan residents, Councilwoman Freese, Planning Commissioner Ginny Kerr and former Planning Commissioner Bruce Tatarian.
The others are Larry Thomas, vice president of , which has a branch in town, city staffer Lori Doll, who lives in Aliso Viejo, Irvine resident Kim McCord, who was appointed by the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office, and Superintendent Joseph Farley of the .
The new group learned that among the many properties the old Redevelopment Agency acquired throughout the years, only Lower Rosan Ranch does not serve a public purpose.
Clark said the law requires surplus property to be disposed of “expeditiously.” The sales proceeds would then be disbursed among various taxing agencies in the area, mostly the county and Capistrano Unified.
With the land appraised at around $8 million and , Lower Rosan may be the first boon to schools and other agencies the Legislature envisioned helping .
In addition, because the Successor Agency receives more in tax increment – the amount taxes increased when properties were redeveloped – than it owes each year in various bond obligations, money will flow to the outside agencies, Clark said.
In some cities, that won’t happen because they owe more than they take in, but San Juan Capistrano does not find itself in that situation, Clark said.
Still, it would be very difficult for the agencies to compel the Successor Agency to sell Lower Rosan right away.
“The taxing agencies would have to prove the Successor Agency hasn’t been acting in their best interest,” he said.
The Successor Agency may discuss the direction it wants to take with Lower Rosan at its mid-May meeting.
Clark added that it’s completely possible to see the land sold within the year.