A new measure to boost small businesses in Westminster, and a time extension on plans to develop the Civic Center area into mixed uses were both approved by the City Council when it met Wednesday night.
The 90-day extension was extended to Sheldon Development LLC on an exclusive negotiating agreement for the redevelopment of the area now housing city hall, the police department, council chambers and other civic buildings. As conceived, the agreement could lead to a development deal that would bring housing, retail and office uses to the expansive site at 8200 Westminster Blvd.
Sheldon wanted the extension because of the disruptions in the business world due to the coronavirus pandemic. The vote was 3-0 with councilmembers Sergio Contreras and Tai Do, who said they needed more information to be able to vote on the item, abstaining.
The council also gave its approval 5-0 to a plan to divert economic development money from a $1.1 million plan for rehabilitating business buildings on Westminster Boulevard between Bolsa Chica Avenue and Edwards Street into a small business grant.
The maximum loan amount would be $20,000 per business and the loans would have to be repaid for a term of up to five years. The first payment would not be due until after the first 12 months and the interest rate would be 2 percent.
Additionally, the council voted 5-0 to approve an amendment to city plans for federal community development grants to provide financial help for “re-housing” people whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19 and a rental support for those who have housing but may need assistance in the present crisis.
Resident Terry Rains and another speaker, Jodi Boyd, said that more needed to be done about “public awareness” for such projects than only using the city website to inform prospective applicants for such funds. Amendments to the original plan will extend the time to publicize and complete the application process.
The next council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27.
It would have been nice for the West End of Westminster to know these funds were available. Additionally, how did the former Assistant City Manager get to walk away with all plans and ideas without informing anyone or leaving a record of plans? Something truly seems off. I hope a reporter reaches out to him now. Chet Simmons owes the residents of Westminster on the West End some explanations.