The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution Tuesday agreeing to participate in Redondo Beach’s efforts to convert a 1950s-era natural gas power plant to a regional park.
Redondo Beach is hoping to finance $93 million to buy the land, remove the underground power line, restore wetlands and put the park and a parking structure in place. It plans to establish a financing district and use property tax revenues from that district to pay for at least part of the project.
Supervisor Janice Hahn, whose district includes Redondo Beach, issued a statement following the vote, saying the power plant “is an eyesore and we have an opportunity now to transform this site into a massive regional park and restore some of the wetlands that this power plant destroyed.
“There is plenty of work ahead of us, but this is a major step in returning this prime piece of waterfront real estate to the people,” she said.
The board’s resolution indicates the county’s intent to join the financing district. County CEO Sachi Hamai estimated that development in the area will generate higher future property taxes than if the power plant stayed in place.
Board documents indicate that the county will “likely contribute approximately 60% of its share of property tax increment.” However, Redondo Beach is still drafting a financing plan and the specifics will be considered at a future board meeting.
Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand choked up while talking about working for 18 years to get rid of the waterfront plant.
“This whole thing’s kind of surreal for me because we’ve been doing this for so long,” Brand said. “(The county’s support) just warms my heart to no end.”
The financing district would not levy new taxes. Property taxes on residential and commercial properties within the district would be used to pay interest and debt service on bonds issued to finance the project.
The Redondo Beach plant is one of 19 coastal power facilities required to shut down or retool by the end of 2020 under a 2010 order from the State Water Resources Control Board. Under the order, plants can no longer use ocean water to cool facilities because the process kills fish and other marine life.
Last month, however, an administrative law judge of the Public Utilities Commission recommending allowing four Southern California plants to continue to operate for up to another three years, citing concerns about the state’s ability to manage customer demand for power during peak periods.
Under the latest proposal, the Redondo Beach generating station would be allowed to operate for up to another two years. The full commission is scheduled to vote on the issue Thursday.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: