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La Habra Notes: City planning to again join a national challenge to get residents to conserve more

In partnership with the Wyland Foundation, the National League of Cities and the Environmental Protection Agency, the city of La Habra, along with thousands of American cities, will participate in the 2018 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.
The mission of the Wyland Foundation is to bring people together and protect clean water and a healthy marine ecosystem, find out more at
The Mayor’s Challenge, which will occur throughout April, will encourage residents of participating cities to pledge greater conservation of water, energy and other natural resources.
Last year residents in more than 4,800 cities in all 50 states made more than 421,000 pledges to conserve, selecting a variety of pledge options that include taking a shorter shower, wasting less food and recycling.  By doing so, residents become eligible to win thousands of dollars in prizes, including a Toyota Prius hybrid.
The city will promote the event and ask our residents consider making a pledge as the month of April approaches.

Properties in the city worth more
The city’s property tax consultant, HdL Coren & Cone, recently met with representatives from the City Manager’s Office, Finance Department and Community and Economic Development Department to review La Habra’s 2017-18 property tax summary.
I am pleased to report the city experienced a net taxable value increase of 5.2 percent for the 2017-18 tax roll, reflecting a growth of $309 million in the overall assessed value of properties citywide.  This growth is slightly below the level of growth experienced countywide, which was 6 percent, but is up from the 4.9 percent growth experienced in La Habra in 2016-17.
Much of the change in the overall assessed value of property in La Habra is related to reassessments of property upon transfer of ownership (approximately $127 million).  The next largest factor in the growth was related to CPI adjustment of 2 percent that results with the County of Orange Assessor’s Office annual reassessment of the value of property (approximately $100 million).
The median price of single-family homes sold in La Habra is about $545,000, which represents a growth of 6.55 percent compared to the prior year.  This is certainly significant growth from the median sales price experienced at the bottom of the market in 2011, which was $329,750, but remains slightly below the peak value of $565,000 reported in 2007.  The current median home value for a single-family home in Orange County is about $700,000.
Construction projects progress
The following is a brief update from the Building and Safety Division on the status of selected development projects now under construction or in plan check:
– Skylark by Shea Homes (1220 W.  La Habra Blvd.):  The building permit for the project was issued in late August.  The construction of the 32-unit townhome project is under way.
– City Ventures (201 E. La Habra Blvd.):  Demolition and site clearance of the old La Habra City Hall continues.
– Starbucks (1801 W. Whittier Blvd.):  The building permit for the project was issued in late August.  Construction is under way.
– Auto Zone (1781 W. Whittier Blvd.):  The building permit for the project was issued on Nov. 21.
– Aldi Grocery Store (1001 E. Imperial Highway):  Construction is under way.
– Denny’s (1150 S. Beach Blvd.):  The contractor for the project has said the restaurant will be ready for its re-opening in February.
– Tierra Mia Coffee (1315 W.  Whittier Blvd.):  The tenant improvement permit was issued in mid-November.  Construction work has begun.
– Jack in the Box (1231 W. Whittier Blvd.):  The tenant improvement permit was issued in late October.  Construction work is under way.
– In-N-Out Burger (1761 W. Whittier Blvd.):  The building permit was issued in late October.  Construction work is under way.
– Farmer Boys (602 S. Harbor Blvd.):  The applicant resubmitted tenant improvement plans in late October.  Plan check corrections have been completed by staff and returned to the applicant.
– Portola Walk by the Olson Company (1801 W.  La Habra Blvd.):  The applicant resubmitted building plans for review earlier this month.
Branding Beach Boulevard
Late last year, city staffer attended a meeting of the “Renew Beach Boulevard Coalition.”  The coalition is made up of representatives from several Orange County cities (both elected officials and staff) that have an interest in creating a unifying “brand” along Beach Boulevard through signage, mile-markers and street amenities, running the length of the street in Orange County  from La Habra to Huntington Beach.
The coalition, which is chaired by Mayor Tait from Anaheim, has already been successful in securing about $700,000 in grant funding through Caltrans and the Southern California Association of Governments to conduct project studies.  The city of Anaheim has hired a design firm to draft several different options for signage, as well as prepare a list of ways to raise public awareness of efforts to brand the boulevard.
Though the idea is still in its infancy, we anticipate the coalition will continue to meet periodically.  I will provide additional information as it becomes available.
Recap Operation Santa
The city’s annual “Operation Santa,” a program that provides a measure of holiday cheer to La Habra families in need, took place at the Community Center on Dec. 16.
About 600 families and 1,500 kids enjoyed a day of holiday games, crafts and photos with Santa, as well as the distribution of food and toys for families.
It was a fitting send-off for Josie Anderson, the city’s social services manager who ran the program for several years and who retired at the end of December.  Please join me in congratulating Josie and her staff for a job well done.
James Gomez is a councilman and former mayor for the city of La Habra. Reach him at 714-738-5926.
Source: Oc Register

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