Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill calling for 'as is' sale of nearly 500 properties.
By Daniel Siegal, October 2, 2013
The California Department of Transportation
must quickly sell some of the nearly 500 properties it owns in Los
Angeles, South Pasadena and Pasadena, according to a bill by Sen. Carol
Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), which was signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
homes are located in the so-called 710 gap, where transportation
officials are studying a 4.5-mile tunnel that would connect the Long
Beach (710) and Foothill (210) freeways.
Brown vetoed a similar bill last year.
bill adds a change to existing law so that the homes may be sold “as
is,” at prices set according to their condition, as opposed to having to
be repaired and sold at market value.
Almost 400 homes are
occupied by tenants, but many others remain vacant and in disrepair,
according to a statement released by Liu's office.
“It is really a
recognition from Caltrans that they really do not want to be in the
rental business,” Liu said via phone on Wednesday. “Based on whatever
the house is worth, somebody can buy it, as-is, and we'll get Caltrans
out from under the obligation of having to maintain the house.”
The bill also states the current tenants of the homes will get the first chance to purchase them.
Lauren Wonder, public information officer for Caltrans, said specifics about the home sales will be announced in the future.
will know how many properties will become surplus and subject to sale
once a project is determined,” she said. “We are seeking approval of
regulations that would govern how the properties would then be sold.”
properties were acquired by Caltrans over the past several decades in
anticipation of the possible construction of a surface freeway to close
the gap between the 710 and 210 freeways.
The new law also
states that the surface freeway route will be taken off the table as an
option in any state environmental documents on the project.
The draft environmental study currently being conducted by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the 710 gap project is, as this point, evaluating five options, including a freeway tunnel.
said ruling out the surface freeway meant Caltrans would be able to
sell many more homes than had been considered previously.
was identifying those homes that wouldn't be in a surface route's way,”
she said. “Now they don't have an excuse, because the surface route