This is a lightly edited news statement from the office of Senator Carol Liu:
The state Senate approved a bill this past week expediting the sale of state-owned houses no longer needed for a proposed State Highway Route 710 extension in Los Angeles, Alhambra, South Pasadena, and Pasadena, Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) announced Tuesday.
Liu, who represents about 930,000 people in the 25th Senate District, including residents of Glendora, authored SB 416, which streamlines the California Department of Transportation process for selling as surplus property houses that were purchased more than 50 years ago for the extension route. Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) and Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), co-authored the legislation.
The Senate passed the bill on a 38-0 vote and sent it to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has 30 days to sign or veto the legislation.
"This bill gets Caltrans out of the real estate management business, generate revenues for local transportation projects, and returns these properties to our local tax rolls,” said Liu. "I want to thank Mr. Gatto and Mr. Holden for their support of this important measure,” Liu said. SB 416 passed the Assembly 77-0 last week.
The 4.5-mile, uncompleted portion of SR 710 transects neighborhoods and communities. Caltrans owns more than 500 properties within the originally proposed surface route corridor. About 400 homes are occupied by tenants for whom Caltrans serves as landlord, but many houses remain vacant and in disrepair.
The originally proposed North 710 surface route segment has been eliminated from further consideration by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is preparing the Environmental Impact Report and Statement on Caltrans’ behalf. SB 416 will codify this determination, clearing the way for properties to be declared excess and sold.
Current law, known as the Roberti Bill, establishes terms and conditions for the sale of properties to current tenants and affordable housing entities before offering them for sale at fair market value to the public. Single-family residences must first be offered at an affordable price to present occupants who qualify as low income. SB 416 enables those properties to be sold "as is" upon agreement with the buyer thus, relieving Caltrans of the need to make costly repairs prior to a sale.
The bill further revises the definition of "fair market value" to reflect the "as is" condition of the property, taking into account any needed repairs, and gives current tenants priority to purchase residential and non-residential properties at fair market value.