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While 2011 saw the signing of two bills into law by Governor Jerry Brown, both affecting redevelopment agencies throughout California, affordable housing advocates and others in the development community scrambled to figure out what the future of public financing strategies would look like in post-redevelopment California.

A recent Urban Land Institute article focused on the challenges that the loss of redevelopment has brought to infill developers, particularly affordable housing developers.

"We are very concerned about the lack of affordable housing funds this will create,” says Cynthia Parker, president and chief executive officer of BRIDGE Housing, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco. “We have about 30 projects that include redevelopment money, and last year we spent a fair amount of time getting commitments in place as part of the enforceable obligations of the agency. So we have plenty of work that will be started in the next two years. But beyond that, everything becomes quite murky.”

City visionaries and infill developers across California are searching for public financing solutions and strategies to encourage new development in urban areas. In the article, Libby speaks to the possibility of alternative funding sources, particularly infrastructure financing districts (IFDs), which would allow cities and counties to issue bonds to pay for public works projects and to then use property tax increment revenues to pay back the bonds.

“Most cities in California receive only a small share of property taxes that could be dedicated to bond repayment, after excluding property taxes from educational districts,” says Libby. “And right now, if 12 or more registered voters reside within the proposed district, approval from two-thirds of all voters in the district [is required].” 

A senate bill under consideration in early 2012 would extend the deadline for the redevelopment handover process from February 1 to April 15. “There are complicated issues to resolve related to bonds and contractual obligations, including obligations to employees and their unions,” Libby continues. “A number of agreements and projects are jeopardized. More legal guidance and time [are] needed to work out the implementation details.”

Urban Land is a publication of the Urban Land Institute. More information is available here.