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Cotati scrambles after state rejects redevelopment plans

Cotati's City Hall's plan to remake its downtown with $3.7 million in what were redevelopment funds have taken a blow with the state's rejection of the city's proposal.

The city had submitted to the state two projects — a $1.8 million traffic roundabout plan and a $1.9 million proposal to build a downtown train station, contending both are "enforceable obligations," meaning Cotati's defunct redevelopment agency had made financial commitments to them before it ceased to exist.

City officials have said the projects are key to boosting economic growth.

But state officials reviewing thousands of such proposals from around California rejected Cotati's, saying contracts hadn't been signed for either project within the deadline set by state law.

"I would not say that's accurate," said Cotati City Manager Dianne Thompson. The city is working to revive its proposal, she said.

"It may be that they need more information, or that we need to have a discussion or a meeting about it. This is new territory and we're continuing to work with the state," Thompson said.

Gov. Jerry Brown's budget for the current year, as approved by the Legislature, dissolved all redevelopment agencies in the state in a move intended to achieve budget savings and redistribute the funds collected from property taxes more widely.

Only projects with enforceable contracts would continue to get funding, according to the law and subsequent court rulings. Now the state appears to have blocked many of the proposals submitted by the oversight boards charged with managing the final distributions of funds.

Elsewhere in Sonoma County, rejected plans include high profile, long-planned projects in Roseland and Boyes Hot Springs.

In Rohnert Park, one of the Sonoma County cities still waiting to hear, City Manager Gabe Gonzalez said he's braced for a denial.


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