By Nick Diamantides, Special to the Signal Tribune
Plans to develop a CarMax automobile dealership in Signal Hill are moving forward slowly, but a Hyundai dealership is likely to come to town soon. To enable that to happen, during its Tuesday meeting, the Signal Hill City Council approved relocating the Police Department headquarters to a Walnut Avenue site.
As the acting Signal Hill Redevelopment Agency (RDA) board, the council first considered a staff recommendation to extend the disposition and development agreement (DDA) with CarMax for an additional 180 days. For decades, various oil production and recycling facilities occupied much of the 6.1-acre site on Spring Street and contaminated the soil.
The problem is that CarMax’s environmental consultant disagrees with the city’s consultant as to the level of soil remediation required. The city is requesting the State Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to resolve the dispute.
After a long discussion in which RDA board members expressed their frustration with the slowness of the process, they unanimously voted to extend the DDA to Tuesday, September 11, and directed staff to reach an agreement with CarMax binding the auto dealer and the RDA to the decision of OEHHA, provided that agency agrees to make a determination.
Meanwhile, the council approved a 4-acre site at the northwest corner of Walnut Avenue and 27th Street as the location of the new police department headquarters. The original planned location for the headquarters was a 3-acre RDA-owned site at 1400 Spring Street, but the Hooman Automotive Group Dealership recently proposed buying the property for $3 million and developing a Hyundai dealership there. The RDA board unanimously approved an exclusive negotiation agreement with Hooman for the purchase and development of the property.
The next council meeting will be Tuesday, August 14 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers.