In the wake of the elimination of Redevelopment Agencies, Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC provides interpretation and application advice to its Successor Agency, Oversight Board and City clients in the post-RDA wind-down process. And, when necessary, we are ready and able to defend our clients’ interests in litigation.
We currently provide post-redevelopment legal support to several Successor Agencies in both a General Counsel and a Special Counsel role and served several Oversight Boards as General Counsel before their consolidating into County-wide boards. We are have successfully participated in “meet and confer” sessions before the Department of Finance, resulting in a reversal of initial Department of Finance decisions or other creative solutions to meet our clients’ needs. In litigation, we successfully represented a coalition of 13 cities around the state in a facial challenge to the provisions of the AB 1484 purporting to authorize withholding of property, sales and use taxes from cities to off-set property taxes the State claims to be “owed” by their Successor Agencies. (City of Bellflower v. Cohen (2016) 245 Cal.4th 438). We have also filed several writ actions against the Department of Finance to challenge its refusals to correct erroneous decisions follow meet and confer sessions.
Our post-RDA team is lead by Terri Highsmith and Holly Whatley and includes Michel Colantuono, Scott Howard, Jenni Pancake and Matthew Summers. Both Ms. Highsmith and Ms. Whatley are active members of the League of California Cities post-RDA litigation working group. Terri is also a member of the League of California Cities Oversight Board working group and represented Oversight Boards in the Cities of Huntington Park, Pomona, Rialto, San Bernardino, San Gabriel and Temple City.
We have substantial experience helping our clients with economic development efforts. We have negotiated contracts with commercial and major housing developers, the U.S. Department of Defense, tenants of publicly owned facilities, and affordable housing advocates. We have drafted Exclusive Negotiating Agreements, Owner Participation Agreements, Development Agreements and Disposition and Development Agreements for many clients, as well as commercial leases, licenses, real property financing instruments (including promissory notes and deeds of trust), and restrictive covenants.
As to affordable housing, we have negotiated and drafted multi-party agreements for the development of affordable housing among housing authorities, private affordable housing developers and affordable housing management businesses, for both low- and moderate-income rental and for-sale housing. Projects range from down-payment assistance programs with loan and security agreements, rehabilitation of existing housing for conversion to affordable rental housing, development of rental and for-sale units, and selection of tenants and first-time buyers by lottery, lease or loan agreements and recordable affordable housing covenants.
Our team has also successfully defended affordable housing discrimination claims filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).