There's no question that the recent death of redevelopment in California was a worst-case scenario or that cities now dealing with the situation are somewhat overwhelmed.
But who would've figured that negative hits would keep on coming?

Such was the news Thursday at a redevelopment-focused Fairfield gathering sponsored by the Solano Economic Development Corporation.

"This could still be a long-term process," cautioned Greg Stepanicich, city attorney for Fairfield and Mill Valley, during his talk. "This could go on till 2016."

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown shuttered redevelopment agencies throughout California in order to use the funding to bridge the state's budget gap.

Effective Feb. 1, all RDAs were dissolved and many local cities chose to act as the successor agency, or the agency that would handle winding down the financial affairs of the RDAs.

Calling the move "devastating," Stepanicich said Thursday that leaders are still trying to determine the meaning of the law governing the redevelopment dissolution, including how to meet existing payment obligations and disburse of redevelopment properties.

"This is the most complex statute that I have ever encountered," he said.

That's putting it mildly, Vacaville leaders emphasized, describing the situation as confusing, complicated and inconsistent.

"The overall impact will only be known as the winding-down of redevelopment occurs over time," advised Emily Cantu with the city of  Vacaville.

Of major concern is the selling-off of redevelopment properties, she said, which would impact many. In Fairfield, for example, an elementary school is sited on a redevelopment parcel, which could mean relocating youths to other schools. And in Vacaville, the Town Square property and old Carnegie library are also endangered.

Mark Creffield, president of the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce, expressed worry about the Carnegie location, as it currently serves as the home of the chamber. Though the organization holds a 10-year lease on the site, he said, it could be sold out from under them.

"Someone could come along and say (to the successor agency), 'I'll give you a million dollars for the Carnegie library,' and then it'll be gone," he said.

Cyndi Johnston, Vacaville's Housing and Redevelopment director, said there's still lots of learning to do on all sides. Some properties may have to be sold, others not. The two examples listed could be sold, she said, but the law does allow for certain considerations, such as keeping a site that benefits the public.

"So much is up in the air," Johnston said. "We're going to do the best we can."

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