On the block
Caltrans announces plans to sell homes seized to make way for freeway extension
By André Coleman 06/11/2014
Caltrans will finally sell 461 homes in Pasadena, South Pasadena and El Sereno that were seized more than 50 years ago to make way for a freeway extension that never happened.
Residents living in those homes received information from Caltrans last week outlining details of two public hearings that will take place on July 15 at Cal State Los Angeles and July 17 at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Caltrans originally planned to build an extension to the 710 (Long Beach) Freeway that would go through those areas and connect with the 210 (Foothill) Freeway. Angry residents fought for decades to block that plan. Caltrans now is discussing several alternatives, including a bus route, a light rail system and a tunnel that would start in Alhambra and end in Pasadena near Huntington Hospital. Legislators have been calling on Caltrans to sell the homes since the extension option was taken off the table.
The process to sell the homes was expedited after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill authored by state Sen. Carol Liu, D-Pasadena. Liu’s legislation requires Caltrans to sell the homes now that the originally proposed surface route is infeasible. The Roberti Bill — authored by former Senate President Pro Tem David Roberti — gives current tenants priority in purchasing the homes if they have been in those places for more than two years and are earning low to moderate incomes.
Under the current proposal, Phase 1 of the property sales would begin in the fall and all property not impacted by the remaining alternatives would be eligible for purchase.
In Phase 2, properties that are within the scope of the remaining project alternatives but deemed surplus would be sold. All remaining surplus property will be sold in Phase 3.
Caltrans has not announced dates for the second and third phases.
“The question is whether they follow through and whether they can be trusted which has always been a problem,” said tenants’ attorney Chris Sutton. “In the mid ’90s they were told to sell a number of the homes immediately and they only sold half. They sold another set of homes that was never declared surplus. They’re not evil, just stupid in a way that is so infuriating.”