The PSR article asks Would New Green Redevelopment Agencies Be Granted Eminent Domain Powers? Then they lay their case out this way:
The website CaliforniaCityNews.Org is reporting that Larry Kosmont, whose firm does consulting with redevelopment agencies, has come up with the harebrained idea to create "Green Redevelopment Agencies" that would pursue the Holy Grail of an economically viable model of environmental sustainability. Such "green redevelopment agencies" would pursue the goals of AB 32 - the Global Warming Solutions Act - and the anti-sprawl legislation of SB 375.
Probably the most troubling part of creating any green redevelopment agencies, however, would be the idea of using eminent domain power to accomplish "green redevelopment." Where would this lead? Would they eventually condemn housing in the suburbs to force you to live in "transit oriented housing" in the cities? Could a green redevelopment agency condemn your lawn and force you to plant drought tolerant plants? Or under SB 375 would they be able to condemn a whole neighborhood as "environmentally nonsustainable?" While this sounds like an overreaction at the moment, the whole concept of using redevelopment powers (e.g. eminent domain, tax increment financing, etc.) for green projects is Constitutionally troublesome.
The article does go on to say that this is mostly speculation and is not too likely to happen next week. Right now this is merely the twinkle in some slightly demented consultant's eye. But given Sacramento's current bias towards extreme and economically devastating schemes such as AB 32 and SB 375, who knows what the future might hold? They are getting pretty desperate up there.
As we all know, this really is all about the money. And PSR pulls it all back in with a theory that brings with it an economically realistic feel. After all, aren't consultancies, no matter what their shtick, really businesses first and foremost? They need billing, which means they have to come with a compelling reason for writing them a check.
Conventional redevelopment agencies are all but defunct in the current depressed and overbuilt real estate market. It is likely that the concept of "green" redevelopment agencies is an attempt to revive redevelopment agencies and jobs using the new green legislation of AB 32 and SB 375. The notion of Green Redevelopment Agencies is likely an attempt by bureaucracies to "sustain" themselves where their historical mission has collapsed. Consulting firms that advise redevelopment agencies are the ones initially floating this idea of "Green Redevelopment," also possible as an attempt at "sustainability" of their jobs. But who knows where such a notion might end up in California where legislators want to tax private parking spaces in shopping centers to plug the gargantuan state deficit?
Can't you just imagine John Buchanan going on (and on) about the importance of making our redevelopment agency green? Or, Saints preserve us, a Mayor Joe Mosca saying something along the lines of, "I'd like to take this opportunity to warmly welcome Mr. Larry Kosmont to Sierra Madre's City Council chambers. Larry, as you might or might not know, has been instrumental in bringing new energy and much needed focus to some very important matters, all while moving sustainability to the forefront of the redevelopment process." Et cetera. Et cetera.
And if you think that this matter isn't getting some interest in the more serious corridors of redevelopment power, take Pasadena Sub Rosa's suggestion and check this out from the cited SB 375 compliant website CaliforniaCityNews.org:
RDAs Perfect 'Green' Vehicle for Environmental Legislation - As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been increasingly forced to defend AB 32, California's landmark greenhouse gas reduction law, especially in light of a potential ballot measure that would suspend the environmental law and a recent LAO report that suggested it would cost the state jobs, questions abound as to how California can actually make choices that reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled. However, one avenue that deserves greater exploration is creating "Green" redevelopment Agencies in order to leverage the nexus that could productively exist between realizing green legislation and RDAs. Larry Kosmont, the President and CEO of the development services firm Kosmont Companies, has developed this very idea ...
Oh dear. Did you ever for a minute suspect that someday redevelopment consulting firms would become such hotbeds for dangerous radical activity? Thank God we've chased them out of Sierra Madre! Now if we can only get rid of their last remaining gabby enablers.