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What's Worse Than eminent Domain?
Sad Day on Main Street
Chain of Events
Project Objections
Opinions and Editorials

Scott Weimer 1-17-08
Mike Silva 2-7-08
John Scott 2-14-08
Harry J. Krebs 2-14-08
Lennie DeCaro 2-21-08
Peter Katz 2-28-08
Newspaper Articles
(Newest Listed First)
GG Journal 9-18-08
OC News Story 2-20-08
GG Journal 1-17-08
GG Journal 1-10-08
OC News Story 1-4-08
OC Register Story 1-3-08
Real Estate Journal 10-8-07
GG Journal 10-4-07
OC News Story 10-3-07
GG Journal 7-26-07
GG Journal 6-28-07
OC Weekly Expose' 4-26-07
OC Register 4-26-07
GG Journal 4-12-07
OC News Story 4-11-07
OC News Editorial 4-11-07
OC News Editorial 11-17-06
GG Journal 10-26-06
City Staff presents to the Parking & Main Street Commission a proposal by the Olson Company to build condos atop of Parking Lot 1 in the downtown Garden Grove Historical District. The project is met with such overwhelming opposition by the Business and Property Owners, the Members of the Parking and Main Street Commission and the Members of the Downtown Business Association that the project is never revisited or placed back on the agenda.
Garden Grove Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, declares the Main Street area "blighted" thus giving them legal powers to:
  • Divert all property tax increment dollars directly in the redevelopment agency fund and not the general fund, thereby no longer making these tax monies available to fund school, police, fire or any other agency or purpose that benefits the citizens within the community
  • Sell bonds to further incumber the City financially, and to secure them by those same tax monies and with out the approval of the voters
  • Condemn private property and sell or give it to other private parties and last but not least
  • Give public money or property directly to private developers or other private business owners in the form of cash grants, tax rebates, free land and free public improvements on that land!
City Council, without warning or sending notices to any affected parties, votes to approve an EXCLUSIVE NEGOTIATION AGREEMENT (ENA) with Sheldon Public Relations to build an 80 unit, 5-story condo complex atop Parking Lot 1 in the downtown Garden Grove Historical District. No information from the City was presented to Property Owners or Business Owners or Members of the Parking and Main Street Commission or Members of the Downtown Business Association prior to this vote. City Staff only complied with the 72 hour legally required posting of an agenda item before bringing this project, which is twice the size of the original Olson proposal, before the Council. This hearing occurred on Valentines Day.
Staff later introduces the project to the Parking and Main Street Commission, not as a request for approval, but merely as an accommodation after complaints and accusations of secret dealings with the proposed Buyer are lodged by Property Owners and Business Owners and Members of the Parking Commission and Members of the Main Street Business Association.
The Parking and Main Street Commission sends letter to City Council expressing their concerns that staff has not provided them with plans to review, evaluate and make recommendations to the Planning Commission (as is their duty and responsibility), failed to go through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process in choosing a developer and has excluded the Parking and Main Street Commission in both the approval/denial process of the condo project plans, as well as denying them any input into the disposition and sale of Parking Lot 1.
Planning commission meets and votes unanimously to approve project despite opposition from numerous property owners, business owners, community leaders and concerned citizens regarding sale of the parking lot, the Developer's arbitrary 25% increase in density to the project, the flawed parking study, the illegal tandem parking arrangements and reduction of total Main Street parking spaces to below City code requirements, and the City's decision to award this project exclusively to Sheldon Public Relations (who is not even a developer), without a Master Plan or Request for Proposals from other legitimate and interested developers.
City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency meets, and in direct violation of California's Brown Act, goes into closed session to discuss all aspects regarding the development of this project including: financing, recorded covenants, scope of development and off-site improvements, city parking requirements, required Parking District actions, physical condition of property at close of escrow, condition of title, indemnities of Sheldon and the City, representations and warranties of the City, potential highest and best use of property and potential alternative land uses, conditions precedent to close of escrow, due diligence time period, environmental condition and remediation of property and terms of purchase price. In order to comply with the State's transparency laws, redevelopment agencies are allowed only to meet in closed session in order to discuss the land price with negotiators, nothing else that would compromise the people's right to know and understand all other aspects of a future, Agency sanctioned, development project.
The Public Hearing is held on this matter and the Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, approves Sheldon's project despite numerous objections from many property owners, business owners, community leaders and concerned citizens regarding the following issues:
  • The lack of a bidding process in order to establish fair market value
  • the fact that the proceeds would be funneled directly into the City's coffers, rather than back into the Parking District, as State law prescribes
  • The increased density and the special variances granted the developer so as to facilitate the building of this 100 unit, 5 story complex on only a 1.6 acre parcel
  • The overall reduction of available Main Street Parking
  • The destruction of the downtown historical district atmosphere
  • Circumvention of the Main Street and Parking District governing body in the project approval process
  • The City's disregard for the Request for Proposal, Master Planning Concept and competitive bid processes
  • Numerous parking issues, including permanent loss of more than 25% of existing spaces, the flawed parking study, the incorporation of tandem spaces, and the lack of city police involvement in the proposed enforcement of the shared-use spaces
  • Less than fair market value being paid by the developer for the land
  • Proper public and legal notices were not given prior to public hearing
  • The validity of Council and City Staff's arbitrary determination and public filing that this project does not call for an Environmental Report, despite the fact that numerous and significant land use, population, housing, traffic, and historical preservation issues are in fact at issue, and therefore legally warrants a Report.
  • Declaring the Main Street district "blighted" so as to justify transferring the property into the Redevelopment Agency so that the Request for Proposal and competitive bid process could be sidestepped and the property then sold directly to a campaign contributing third party for the purpose of making private and speculative profits,
  • The fact that the proceeds from the land will not be going back to the Parking District and/or property owners who originally purchased the lots, but directly into the City's fund.
Attorney for the Garden Grove Downtown Business Association submits to the City an official Request for Administrative Records pertaining to this development project.
Council approved a second reading and adoption of the Sheldon project. Parking Commissioner Peter Katz recites and repeats all objections of which had been previously raised against the project on October 24th.
Garden Grove Main Street Parking and Main Street Commission passes a resolution to appropriate the funds received by the City from the sale of the Parking lot to be allocated towards replacement or "substitution" parking, citing their authority under the California Street and Highways Code Section 31851.
Garden Grove Downtown Business Association files a petition for a Writ of Mandate (judicial review) in Orange County Superior Court. Also, due to a lack of response from the City, a 2nd official Request for Administrative Records is submitted.
Councilman Broadwater volunteers to act as mediator between the Garden Grove Downtown Business Association, the developer; Steve Sheldon and the City of Garden Grove in an attempt to effect a resolve of the issues of contention between the parties.
Scott Weimer and Steve Sheldon meet to discuss the matters of disagreement and items of possible resolution. Negotiations continue…
Councilman Mark Rosen, during Council discussions regarding Main Street, makes a request to the City Attorney to investigate what it would take to abolish the Parking and Main Street Commission.
Garden Grove Downtown Business Association votes to approve all items negotiated and decided upon by Scott and Steve, and approves to drop the lawsuit, conditional upon the City's cooperation in adopting the Parking and Main Street Commission's January 18 resolution and the allocation of those funds toward the acquisition of "substitution" parking spaces as provided for in the California Street and Highways code Section 31900.
City Council meets in closed session and refuses to agree to any terms in the Proposed Settlement Agreement, and also dictates that Steve Sheldon shall not be allowed to follow through with his part of the agreement, that is; providing us and the Main Street Parking District with any and all of the mitigation concessions he had originally volunteered, including project and maintenance funds and ongoing HOA contributions to the benefit of Main Street. They will only allow him to cover our legal expenses.
Sheldon's attorneys file for MOTION TO DENY WRIT, purporting that all of our complaints and causes of actions filed in the Court are groundless. Hearing is requested by Sheldon for June 29th, 2007 in OC Superior Court @ 9:00 am, Department C28, 700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana.
We file a request with the Court for a continuance, requesting more time to further prepare our case, since the City only recently complied with our last year's Request for the Administrative Records. Sheldon responds but stipulates for no more than one postponement to be granted us. Hearing is scheduled for July 20th.
We file a supplemental brief arguing against Sheldon's MOTION TO DENY.
Sheldon files an additional brief arguing against our arguments arguing against his MOTION TO DENY WRIT.
Judge Thompson, upon reviewing our case, orders an additional postponement, under his discretion. In his explanatory comments he is requesting further clarification on a several items contained in our complaint, has re-established us to our original position as the movants, and has provided us with the opportunity to prepare an additional brief in order to further argue these points in question. Hearing is now set for September 21.
GGDBA files supplemental brief with court clarifying "standard of review" and other items pertaining to Judge's inquiry./td>
Sheldon and City respond, contending however that we, as the GGDBA, have no standing in this case, that is; no right to represent the Parking Commissioners in this dispute and no standing to argue in court in defense of their abridged rights. Of course that constitutes the majority of our causes of action of which we are defending against, those being the circumvention of the Parking and Main Street Commission in the sale of their Parking lot, the exclusion of the Commissioners in the approval or denial process for the condo project, the rights of the Commissioners to protect the parking places within the Parking District and the City's refusal to comply with State law which dictates that it is the Parking Commissioners alone who shall have jurisdiction over the funds received from the sale of that parking lot, if the sale should proceed.
Judge Thompson postpones hearing until 9-28-07 again at his discretion.
Judge issues tentative ruling in favor of Sheldon and City in their motion to deny the hearing of our writ based on their lack of standing argument.
We appear in court to challenge the Judge's decision. Judge agrees to re-consider his ruling based on this technicality, but is requesting additional briefing from both sides. He will then make a final determination as to the standing issue, and decide whether or not to proceed with and schedule an additional hearing.
We provide the court with extensive, additional briefing defending our right to stand.
Sheldon and City curiously and without explanation respond by simply conceding on their standing issue.
We respond by requesting an additional hearing to present to the court all factual and legal arguments relating to our case now that the standing issue removed.
We receive notice that
Judge Thompson has already ruled in their favor on all 8 counts. He had chosen to take the case into submission with no hearing, no testimony, and no evidence presented.
At the regularly held meeting of the Garden Grove Downtown Business Association, and following much discussion regarding the disappointing ruling, the irregularity of the trial proceedings and the recently discovered fact that Judge Thompson had previously been employed by Sheldon's attorneys, caused the motion to be made and the vote unanimous by the membership to file an appeal to the judge's ruling.
The appeal is filed by our new attorney Robert Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson was retained due to his extensive knowledge and experience in re-development law abuse as well as his prior successful engagement against the City of Garden Grove while representing one of our fine citizens, ex-Mayor Bernard Adams, in a lawsuit very much like our own. He also came highly recommended from and is one of the staff attorneys for Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform (M.O.R.R.), County Supervisor Chris Norby's organization.

Please see the following websites for more interesting information:
Coalition for Redevelopment Reform
Articles and Documents Relating To Redevelopment
Fear, Loathing and A Powerful OC Politico Loom Over Downtown Garden Grove

Our two and a half year battle will soon come to a close.

The final hearing before the 4th District Court of Appeal has been set for Tuesday, September 16th at 1:00pm. The Justices of whom will hear our case are Presiding Justice David G. Sills, Associate Justice William F. Rylaarsdam and Associate Justice Eileen C. Moore. Please come and support our cause and receive a significant lesson in civics, politics and property rights all at the same time.

Location of the Courthouse is:
925 Spurgeon Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Directions to the Courthouse

Send your contributions and letters to:
Save Historic Main Street
12866 Main Street #100
Garden Grove, Ca. 92840