By Nick Diamantides
After about a three-month delay, plans to develop a CarMax dealership in Signal Hill leaped forward recently. During the October 23 Signal Hill City Council meeting, City Manager Ken Farfsing said the issues causing the delay had been resolved.
Last November, the Signal Hill Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and CarMax Auto Superstores entered into an agreement for a 6.1-acre parcel on Spring Street, just east of Walnut Avenue.
The agreement provided for a several month feasibility period during which CarMax could determine whether developing a dealership there would make economic sense. However, CarMax’s and the RDA’s environmental consultants disagreed on how much soil remediation the former oil production site required. CarMax asked for and was granted two extensions of the feasibility period in order to resolve the dispute.
Farfsing told the council that the State Office of Environmental Health Assessment has approved a contract with the city to act as a mediator in the dispute and CarMax has agreed to abide by its decision.
Another agreement (with Signal Hill Petroleum) regarding the surface use of the property was also reached recently, according to Farfsing. Although the final agreement has not been signed, Farfsing said the project was back on track. The preliminary design phase of the dealership could begin soon.
In a non-related action, the council, the RDA and the Signal Hill Public Financing Authority unanimously agreed to issue approximately $16 million in bonds to take advantage of low interest rates. The bond proceeds will be used to pay off bonds issued in 1993 at higher interest rates. Farfsing said the move will reduce the RDA’s bond debt payments by about $87,000 per year during the next 16 years.
The Signal Hill City Council meets next on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.