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Cerritos Council Approves Zone Change Adjacent to Liberty Park

By Jerry Bernstein

Official seal of City of Cerritos

Official seal of City of Cerritos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cerritos council voted on a zone change for 3.31 acres of land on Studebaker Road from regional commercial to open space at its regular meeting. The property formerly housed a State Farm office building that was purchased by the city’s Redevelopment Agency in May 2001.

Ryan Carey, Management Analyst, said upon acquisition, the city’s recreation services division occupied the building and currently provides recreational and educational programs for children ages 3-15 years that include seasonal day camps, tot lot cooperative parent preschool programs, and summer activities. Carey said in addition the building serves as a storage facility for the city’s Parks and Trees Division landscape and maintenance equipment.

In his report to the council Carey said the zone changes were being requested in order to continue to maintain and allow for public uses or community uses on the site. The property is adjacent to Liberty Park that provides approximately 34 acres of public open space, including a recreational/fitness center. Changing the zoning designation of the property allows the property to become pat of Liberty Park.

The council also reviewed a proposed economic development and business retention/expansion workshop for Cerritos-based businesses recommended by the city’s Economic Development Commission. That would be held in the Skyline Room in the Library.

Carey said the goal of the workshop was to provide members of the city’s retail business community with an overview of the variety of business assistance and support services available to them. It would also introduce them to organizations that may be able to provide valuable technical assistance and/or training and to specifically highlight the services that the city is able to provide to the business community.

Councilmember Mark Pulido asked what role the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce would have in the proposed workshop. Carey said they would expect it to work with them in terms of marketing and advertising the program and to include them as analysts in the workshops and also program outreach.

Councilmember Carol Chen suggested they might want to include the city’s many manufacturing plants too. They provide many jobs and could benefit from such a workshop.

The council also approved a recommendation to raise parking fees to $26 effective July 1 when the new fiscal year starts. Greg Berg, Director of Community and Safety Services said the county and state have raised their portion the fees, which include fees for courthouse expansion and construction o new court houses, salaries and basic courthouse construction fund. The city’s increase would permit the city to break even. He said the main source of ticket fees comes from overnight parking.

Chen asked if the increase would carry the city for two or more years so the matter would not come up again for at least two years. Berg said this was a good step in the right direction.

Berg said 67 percent of the ticket revenue is from overnight parking. He expressed concern over this, noting many cities do not have an overnight parking ordinance.  He said he would like to see how the city could raise more money without raising parking ticket rate.

The council approved the increase 3-1. Councilmember Bruce Barrows was absent due to illness.

Chen said she sees the increase as covering county and state assessments, not a measure to cover additional costs of staffing.

Mayor Jim Edwards reminded those in the audience and at home that the increase was not aimed at citizens-at- large but only those who break the law.

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