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Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

YIMBY – Yes in Mickey’s Backyard?

For those of you getting ready for your property classes this semester, here’s an interesting story to bring up when you cover zoning law.

The city of Anaheim (CA), home to Disneyland, is embroiled in legal issues over the use of a 26-acre property located near property owned by Disney.  As reported by the Washington Post last week (here), the 26-acres area, similar to Disney's property, has been zoned for tourist development since 1994.  The Anaheim City Council, however, voted a few months ago to allow a developer to build 1,500 housing units, including 225 subsidized housing, on the property.  According to the NY Times (here), the site is a mile from Magic Kingdom, ½ mile from Disney’s California Adventure, and directly across an 88-acre area that is the potential site of a third Disney theme park.  The LA times article today on this story includes a map of the proposed housing development and possible new theme park.

As in all property cases, the story here involves property disputes among various parties.  Disney filed a lawsuit in February to prevent the project from going through and protect what it views as its property interests in keeping the area “an attractive place for tourists.”  Disney also has the support of a coalition of residents, Save Our Anaheim Resort.  If the initiative is approved by voters, it would give residents the right to vote on any new housing development in the area. 

To counteract this initiative, supporters of the housing development (backed by SunCal, the developer) are trying to get an initiative on the ballot that would give voters control over the establishment of a third theme park.  Then there are advocates for affordable housing – YIMBY (Yes in Mickey’s Backyard) -who argue that the housing development is necessary, particularly affordable housing.  The median home price in the area is $645,000 and rent for a one-bedroom apartment costs $1,400 a month.  Interestingly, if the latter initiative is placed on the ballot, there is the possibility of both initiatives being passed.  Both would give voters the ability to approve the use of the properties owned by Disney and the City (or SunCal if the contract for sale of the 26 acres goes through).

Rose Cuison Villazor

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/property/2007/08/yimby-yes-in-mi.html

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