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Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency Competes for Title of City's Worst Slumlord

Shame on you, Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency!


Click here  to see how an agency of the City of Richmond is setting a terrible example of stewardship for a property that has been acquired for redevelopment. Instead of stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility, the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency blames the problem on homeless people and “others … responsible for slowing down the development process,” meaning those who insisted that the City obey the law and undertake a CEQA review.


Miraflores is a made-up name given to a collection of former Japanese-American flower growing businesses located near South 45th Street and I-80. See http://www.tombutt.com/forum/2007/070421.htm. The Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency owns the property, which is in violation of every public nuisance listed in the Richmond

Municipal Code. If this property were owned by a private individual, he or she would be subject to thousands of dollars in fines on a daily basis and could actually be sent to jail.


The City of Richmond should be setting an example of proper stewardship for the private sector but is, instead, setting the worst example possible. The property is completely unsecured and is littered with solid waste. Vandals and thieves are looting and pillaging it on a daily basis, despite the fact that it has historical structures that have been found to be eligible for the national Register of historic places (see http://www.tombutt.com/pdf/Miraflores.pdf).


The Site consists of three separately-owned properties (the Sakai, Oishi, and Endo parcels) totaling about 14 acres. The Site currently includes about 40 greenhouses, several residences, and numerous structures and buildings which were used to support the nursery operations warehouse.

Plant nurseries began operating at the Site in the early 20th century. The Sakai Brothers Rose Company grew roses on its property from the early 1910s until operations ceased in 2003. In 1908, the Oishi family began growing carnations on its property. Approximately half of the existing Oishi greenhouses are still being used for growing carnations. The Endo property was originally developed as part of the Y.U. Mayeda Nursery in the early 1910s. The Endo family acquired the property in the late 1950s or early 1960s and grew carnations and bouquet flowers until 1999. From 2000 until early 2005, the Endo family leased the property to individuals who operated a vegetable and flower garden. Pesticides were used by the various nurseries that have operated at the Site. Underground storage tanks (USTs) were used to store fuel for heating boiler rooms and operating vehicles and equipment.


While the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency is waiting for the completion of an EIR that will evaluate, among other things, the historical structures, the agency is allowing those very structures to undergo “demolition by neglect.”


In addition, the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency  is allowing the public free access to a site that has the soil contaminated with metals, pesticides, and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). The groundwater beneath the Site is contaminated with TPH and TPH-related compounds (such as benzene) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).