Local News

Tuesday, Jan 22 2013 06:11 PM

City Council to discuss Baker Street project plans

BY ANTONIE BOESSENKOOL Californian staff writer aboessenkool@bakersfield.com

The Bakersfield City Council is poised to clear a hurdle in the effort to redevelop part of historic Baker Street.

On Wednesday it will consider rezoning a 1.5-acre piece of property on the west side of Baker Street between Kentucky and Lake streets from planned commercial development to commercial center.

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The Bakersfield City Council meets Wednesday at City Hall council chambers, 1501 Truxtun Ave. The closed session, which isn't open to the public, starts at 3:30 p.m., and the regular public meeting begins at 5:15 p.m.

Changing the zoning will give the city and the Kern County Housing Authority more flexibility to develop that area, and do it more quickly.

Already, 37 low-income housing units have been built at the corner of Baker and Lake streets. But a second phase of the project, across the street from the new units, never got off the ground.

In November, the city and Housing Authority agreed to work together on that second phase. Council members agreed to contribute land and property worth $150,000 to the project, plus federal housing money totaling about $3.5 million that is allocated to the city.

That second phase would include building about 50 multiple-family housing units and revamping the old Cornet Building as a community center, according to a report from Community Development Director Doug McIsaac.

Also Wednesday night, council members are set to:

* Extend an agreement with Bakersfield attorney George Martin until the end of this year for legal services related to the city's ongoing battle with Kern County over property taxes.

Bakersfield hired Martin of the law firm Borton Petrini last July when the issue between the city and the county was still developing, and extended the contract in October.

City and county administrators are at odds over how to calculate the portion of property taxes the county should hand over to the city on land that's newly annexed to the city. County staff have said they have given the city too large a share for years and will withhold $2.3 million in property tax revenue from Bakersfield to make up for it.

Bakersfield administrators disagreed and filed a claim against the county last month. Martin's rate will be limited to $645 an hour, up to $250,000 for the extension, according to the agreement.

* Hear a mid-fiscal year update on city capital improvement projects from Public Works Director Raul Rojas.

* Make new appointments to the Planning Commission, Keep Bakersfield Beautiful Committee and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District governing board.

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