Special Benefit District consultant New City America, Inc. has prepared this introductory letter, followed by a brief online survey, for property owners in the Downtown Arcadia area encompassing several blocks in each direction of the intersection of First Avenue at Huntington Drive.
It’s important for property owners to complete and submit the survey by August 31 (survey link here and below the following letter… )
To: Property Owners in the Proposed Downtown Arcadia Special Benefit District (SBD) Study Area
SUBJECT: Investigation of a new Downtown Arcadia “Special Benefit District” (SBD)
– PLEASE RESPOND BY FRIDAY AUGUST 31ST 2012
In May, the Arcadia City Council authorized funding for my company to work with property owners and the Arcadia Downtown Business Association to investigate and perhaps form a new Downtown Special Benefits District.
The purpose of the Steering Committee is to guide the efforts to see if property owners in Downtown Arcadia are willing to form a new property based assessment district to fund activities and improvements over and above what the City of Arcadia is currently providing. This study is being undertaken due to the fact that:
- The Redevelopment Agency in Arcadia, as well as statewide, has been abolished and there will no longer be any funding for improvements in Downtown to supplement operational costs in Downtown Arcadia;
- We have seen the great improvements to the west in Old Pasadena and to the east of us in Old Town Monrovia, and we need to begin to attract Arcadian disposable income back to our Downtown through a concerted plan of improvements and activities;
- The business community has been meeting for over two years now to look into the prospects of this effort and believe that the Downtown SBD is the proven and most effective way to make quick improvements and increase commerce in our Downtown;
- The Arcadia Gold Line station, scheduled to be completed in 2015, will be a game-changer for this area, spurring mixed-use development in and around this station which is already in the City’s General Plan, and a broad new base of potential visitors and customers riding the train and stopping at the station.
The City of Arcadia normally provides general benefit services from “curb to curb” or in the street. The area between the curb and property line is legally the responsibility of the adjacent property owners. Customers and visitors view the business district from the curb to the property line. A Downtown Arcadia SBD could respond to the following issues:
- Providing a coordinated voice for property owners and business owners alike and developing new business friendly policies for consideration by the City Council;
- Developing a marketing plan and promoting district identity to attract new customers, businesses, and eventually residents to Downtown Arcadia;
- Beautification efforts, regular sidewalk and gutter sweeping;
- Periodic sidewalk steam cleaning;
- Planting of flowers, tree and landscaping planting and maintenance:
- Working with the City to request that CalTrans and the MTA provide better signage directing people to Downtown Arcadia;
The Downtown Arcadia Special Benefit District (SBD) investigation process would allow area property owners to create the SBD plan and the resulting costs on each parcel. Once the investigation has been completed and the surveys have been returned, the Downtown Arcadia SBD Steering Committee will determine if there is enough support to move to the formation stage. This decision will probably be made sometime in October. If everything went according to schedule, the SBD would be adopted in the summer of 2013 and the first revenues would be generated in December 2013.
The SBD plan would outline the costs and benefits for each parcel included in the district. Parcels in the core area, which are anticipated to receive the highest benefits would pay one price and those parcels on the periphery, would pay only for those direct services they would benefit from.
Most importantly, the funds generated from the proposed Downtown Arcadia SBD would be controlled by the property owners and the business owners themselves, who will organize themselves into a non-profit corporation once the district has been formed. We estimate that it might take between a minimum of $150,000 and a maximum of $ 300,000 annually to fund the improvements and changes needed in the Downtown Arcadia. Those costs would also be split up between central and peripheral areas, based upon the benefit that a property owner would receive.
Attached, please find a short survey for the property owners, which we ask that you take a moment to fill out and return to us by the last week in August. The purpose of the survey is to gauge your “conceptual support” for the formation of the district. Under the SBD ordinance and the state constitution, ALL property owners, whether public, ecumenical, non-profit/tax-exempt, residential, etc., must pay into the district if they are receiving benefits.
Please take a moment to fill out the survey and fax, e-mail or mail it back to the New City America offices. Please call our office at 888 356-2726 and ask for Monica if you have any questions about the survey, working on the SBD Steering Committee or about the SBD process in general.
The Downtown Arcadia SBD Steering Committee