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City Council: Fond Farewell To NRC, Hello Convention Center

NRC_closer_photoThe Santa Clarita City Council said goodbye to nine members of the Newhall Redevelopment Committee (NRC) whose contribution, although greatly appreciated, became moot once redevelopment agencies were dissolved by Governor Jerry Brown.

(Pictured L-R: Leon Worden, Kevin Korenthal, Council Member Laurene Weste, Carol Rock, Council Member Marsha McLean, Tony Campbell, Dennis Verner, NRC Chairman Phil Ellis, Duane Harte, Mayor Laurie Ender, Council Member Bob Kellar, Mayor Pro Tem Frank Ferry.)

 

 

 

“Thanks to your dedication and partnership with the city, Old Town Newhall has transformed into a premier arts and entertainment district,” said Mayor Laurie Ender.

Ender also said she hopes the enthusiasm of the former members continues since they’d played such an important role.

Former Chairman Phil Ellis, indicated that he and other members were not going away.

“We’re all disappointed with what’s happened with redevelopment but we’re not quitting. As a matter of fact, we going to have our first informal meeting tomorrow night, so we’re going to continue our efforts to keep up in downtown Newhall,” said Ellis.

Laurene Weste thanked the NRC for doing the best job anywhere.

“You have brought a light to our area and we’re proud of you,” said Weste.

 

WHAT’S NEXT? A CONVENTION CENTER

Newly minted Mayor Ender says she asked City Manager Ken Pulskamp and his staff to create goals for the city during her year as Mayor.

“I said, what’s next? Let’s do what’s next. I appreciate you really thinking outside the box. This is a great what’s next up,” said Ender.

That great next up is a 40,000-60,000 square foot facility designed to meet local community needs and regional business demand.

Last year the city hired PKF Consulting to conduct a feasibility study and their analysis concluded that there was sufficient demand for convention center.

 


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Council Member Marsha McLean wanted to make sure the planners didn’t shortchange themselves by not making the convention center large enough.

 

“Forty-thousand is not very large. If it will only be up to 60-thousand feet that you’re looking at, it’s got to be at least that if not more,” said McLean.

McLean reminded city staff that they’re planning for the future.

“As we grow and become more of a destination city we’ve got to be accommodate the people who want to come. I just want to make sure when we look at this, we go bigger rather than too small,” McLean said.

Pulskamp said the next step in the process is to form a Master Plan of the proposed project with three phases: Phase 1 – Site Selection, Phase 2 – Master Plan, conceptual design, elevations, simulations, and Phase 3 – Funding recommendations.

The new convention center is actually only one of six areas of the Santa Clarita Economic Growth Program (SCEG) approved by the city council Tuesday night.

Following on the heels of the city-created 21-Point Business Plan for Progress program in 2009, city staff has devised SCEG to continue to help local businesses, spur the economy, and generate jobs for residents. Many details of the programs included were refined based upon feedback and evaluation of the successes of the 21-Point Plan.

The other parts of the plan are as follows:

Unified Development Code (UDC) Update

City staff is conducting meetings with local businesses to receive input on changes to the UDC to reduce both the cost and bureaucracy for non-residential projects.

 

Development Fee Deferment

As part of the 21-Point Plan, the city council deferred the collection of Quimby, B&T, and Transit Impact fees until later in the development process, at the building permit issuance, to help businesses access the necessary funds early in the process to start projects. The City Council has temporarily extended this program through June 30, 2012, and the recommendation is to continue the extension of fee deferment through June 20, 2014.

 

Use Tax Rebate Program Partnership

The Use Tax Rebate program was created as part of the 21-Point Plan and results in new revenue to the City. A business that makes significant out-of-state purchases, thereby generating ‘use tax,’ and completes the appropriate paperwork, allows the city to receive the full 1 percent of that tax, rather than a formula allocation that provides only approximately 3 percent of that 1 percent.

The city currently motivates local businesses to participate in the program by refunding a percentage of that money back to the participating business, resulting in new money to the city and to the business.

 

Film Local

City Council created a location film incentive as part of the 21-Point Plan. To date, local productions have saved over $140,000 on their permit fees and 2011 was the most filmed year for Santa Clarita. The program has already been extended through June 30, 2012, but staff recommends extending the Film Incentive Program until June 30, 2015.

 

Movie Ranch Overlay Zone

City Council created a Movie Ranch Overlay Zone in 2011. The city has been approached by a number of movie ranches adjacent to city boundaries, in the north Saugus area, about being included in the zone. City staff suggest the city should subsidize the $60,000 cost for these movie ranches to be annexed into the City.

Business Incubator

“Under this program, the city would partner with College of the Canyons (COC) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide space and support for business start-ups. COC would provide on-site business start-up counseling through grant funding and the SBDC would provide regular workshops, guidance and access to business mentors, investors,” said Pulskamp.

County Business Licenses

Los Angeles County currently issues business licenses for approximately 125 business types in Santa Clarita. Of these, city staff felt that 12 of the business types, including massage parlors, pawn shops, tattoo-piercing, and adult businesses need greater regulation and inspections.

The remaining 100+ businesses would benefit from a streamlined process, less bureaucracy, and reduced fees. City staff is also recommending replacing the County Business License with a City-issued Community Preservation Permit.

The city staff believes this will streamline the process and allows for the appropriate oversight from the city, which will benefit the businesses such as restaurants, book stores, auto repair, and arcades by reducing fees and regulations, allowing businesses to better focus on their core business.

Ender expressed her enthusiasm about the SCEG.

“What sets us apart during this economic crisis that everybody has faced is rather than being reactive, we’ve been proactive,” said Ender.

The following items were passed on the Consent Calendar.

ITEM 3.  STATE LEGISLATION: SB 654, SB 986, AB 1585

The city council voted to support Senate Bill 654, Senate Bill 986, and Assembly Bill 1585, as recommended by the City Council Ad-Hoc Committee on Redevelopment.

Those bills have been amended or introduced in an effort to address technical fixes necessary to ensure clarity and resolution of problems identified following the elimination of redevelopment agencies authorized under AB1X 26.

With the passage of SB 654 the city would be able to retain nearly $9 million for affordable housing.

Michael Murphy, Intergovernmental Relations Officer for the City of Santa Clarita said AB 1585 has the most momentum.

Position statements will be transmitted to each bill's author, members of the Santa Clarita State legislative delegation, appropriate legislative committees, Governor Brown, the California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities.

The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors earlier in the day voted to support the bills.

For KHTS’s detailed look at these bills, click here.

ITEM 4. SANTA CLARITA VALLEY ENTERPRISE ZONE MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU) WITH STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

The City of Santa Clarita currently administers the existing Santa Clarita Enterprise Zone that was designated by the State in July 2007. The new Santa Clarita Valley Enterprise Zone will replace the city's existing enterprise zone.

The purpose of the enterprise zone program is to target areas throughout the State of California to stimulate business and industrial growth. Special state and local incentives encourage business investment and promote the creation of jobs within a designated area.

On July 1, 2007, the City of Santa Clarita was designated as one of 42 enterprise zones throughout the State of California.

According to the city, since Santa Clarita was designated as an enterprise zone, this program has helped create and retain more than 5,000 jobs locally. To date, more than 330 businesses in Santa Clarita have taken advantage of the tax savings program generating close to $189 million in potential savings to local businesses.

“It’s important for everyone to know that we do whatever we can to support our businesses,” said McLean.

Stacie House from the Santa Clarita Economic Development Corporation supported the expanded enterprise zone.

“We really look forward to the collaborative effort to bring benefits and more opportunities to even more businesses to our valley. We anticipate through this partnership that will be able to either create or retain a thousand new jobs in this year alone,” said House.

 

ITEM 5. AWARD CONTRACT FOR THE PROCUREMENT, INSTALLATION, AND MAINTENANCE OF ON-BOARD VISUAL DISPLAY MONITORS FOR THE CITY'S TRANSIT FLEET - TIN ADDITION, PHASE 3 –

As an addition to the Transit Information Network, Santa Clarita Transit is looking to equip its fleet of 86 buses in service along its local and commuter fixed-routes with stand-alone, on-board monitors capable of providing visual automatic stop annunciation, route information, video playback, slide presentations, and location based advertising for its riders.

The city council voted to award a contract, in an amount not to exceed $817,438, to Connexionz, Ltd. for the installation and two-year maintenance of On-Board Visual Display Monitors and associated equipment to its fleet of 86 buses in service along Santa Clarita Transit's local and commuter fixed routes.