Council Extends Moratorium

As new vacancies appear on Las Tunas Drive, complaints from building tenant owners rise against the moratorium.

The moratorium on non-retail businesses on Las Tunas between Rowland Avenue and Sultana Avenue has been in effect since April 1. The City Council had voted 4-1 to enact the emergency ordinance for forty-five days.

On Tuesday, May 6, one month after the passage of the moratorium, the City Manager and City Attorney Charles R. Martin placed the item on the City Council agenda to ask Councilmembers to consider prolonging the moratorium.

“It appears that at best, the moratorium is working” wrote Martin in his weekly City Manager’s report on May 1, 2008. He noted that staff was recommending an extension of the moratorium because of the progress made thus far.

Linda Payne, President and CEO of the Temple City Chamber of Commerce, voiced her continual opposition to the moratorium. She reported thirty-seven empty storefronts on Las Tunas Drive.

Another Temple City resident and former City Council candidate Peggy Miller told the City Council she supported the moratorium. Miller felt more time was needed to determine the usefulness of the moratorium.

The moratorium on non-sales tax producing businesses affects properties on Las Tunas between Rowland and Sultana. All incoming businesses must have shown evidence that at least 50% of its business services provided some sales tax. Existing businesses were grandfathered into the urgency ordinance; however, those exemptions would disappear if the old contractors moved away.

Talks about the moratorium began in February 2008 when Councilman Ken Gillanders asked the City Council to look into the issue. Falling sales tax revenues have been attributed to the reason behind the moratorium.

While the Council debated the issue, Mayor Pro Tempore Dave Capra stressed the need for redevelopment in the City. Capra supported protracting the emergency moratorium.

Councilman Fernando Vizcarra, who cast the sole vote against the moratorium in April and on May 6, renewed his opposition to the moratorium. Vizcarra did not believe it was time for it because businesses were rushing to come to town. Vizcarra also presented an alternative proposal with Cal State Pomona students to further study the dying downtown area and develop ideas to revitalize Temple City.

Extension of the moratorium required a supermajority or four votes on the City Council. Only Councilman Vizcarra voted against the extension. The 4-1 vote allowed the moratorium to be prolonged for 10 ½ months.

 

This article was written by Martin Mao. It was published in the Temple City Voice on July 30, 2008.

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