by Paul R. Spitzzeri
In its significant study of the early history and development of City of Industry, the Stanford Research Institute spent a good deal of time looking at existing conditions through 1963 and, to an extent, to the next several years to 1970. The fourth part of the report than moved to “Projected Industrial and Economic Growth of City of Industry.”
Here, the authors noted that, while it was assumed there would be “vital” growth, “the gains in number and content of administrative tasks and the increasing complexity of existing and foreseeable problems suggest some additions to the present extremely limited administrative staff.” As examples, there was no assistant to the City Manager to govern in the absence of the administrative head of the City, nor were there employees “to give assistance to firms interested in locating” to the city.
In fact, those putting together the report stated that business owners and staff wanted someone at city hall that could answer questions when the city manager was not available and that delays often ensued because of this. There was also the matter of having a staff to facilitate “package arrangements” for small and mid-size firms wanting to relocate to Industry, including handling permitting, inspections and other elements of the process.
Another component of this was the suggestion that “to create a better understanding of industrial requirements and problems, the City might well consider expanding the City Council to include representation of the industrial concerns.” The authors went on to state that for the members “it was only natural . . . that consciously or unconsciously their interest and concern as councilmen go primarily to their fellow resident-voters and secondarily to the nonresident, nonvoting business property owners.” A footnote offered the caveat that “this situation is not unique to City of Industry, it applies to every municipality having nonresident-owned businesses located within the city limits.”
The concept was labeled “cooptation,” in which residents and business owners and managers worked closer together, recognizing that including the latter on the council, which was raised in the report, had obvious statutory hurdles. The concern was “to risk losing desirable industrial entrants into the City,” if their voices were not heard. Subsequent years did not seem to lead to the problem of not being business-friendly and there was no attempt to resort to including non-residents on the council.
The report then turned to other issues. One was the description of Valley Boulevard, west of Hacienda Boulevard as being “shoddy . . . a commercial eyesore . . . [and an] effective deterrent to the the entry of any industrial firm whose management is interested in the aesthetic values of a prestige neighborhood.”
Because this corridor was in the older developed portion of the City, which was large on the north side of Valley, while the county section were on the south side, “corrective measures to renovate this area are long overdue if City of Industry is to realize the area’s potential.” The recommendation was for the City to upgrade its development standards and to encourage the county to improve its portions.
There was also an identified problem with adjacent residential areas in La Puente and county areas in Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights that were in poor condition “through age and neglect” which “attracted low-income and socio-culturally deprived groups . . . [who] contribute to the area’s appearance of neglect.” While this description smacks of insensitivity to the people involved, it was stated that this depressed property values in Industry, not just in those residential areas. In the case of the county areas, massive suburban development eventually led to areas with higher “socio-cultural” resident populations, while the situation in La Puente was and is quite different.
The report also highlighted a vandalism problem, with business owners acknowledging the number of incidents as small but that “the complains were expressed quite vehemently.” The authors called for the City to work with the county sheriff’s department to address this matter. With this and the other identified issues, it was noted that
the future industrial and economic growth of City of Industry will reflect the degree to which the City takes positive action to solve the above problems . . . [and] effective solutions to the socoieconomic problems will result only from purposeful goals stemming from concern for the development of the City as a whole.
Turning to projected activity for the years 1963-1970, the writers identified some key variables to growth, including:
- the completion of the San Gabriel River (I-605), Pomona (SR-60) and Brea Canyon [Orange] (SR-57) freeways to “effectively end any isolation of the City from any portion of Southern California”
- low land costs
- availability of a variety of sizes of property
- firms moving from older industrial areas
- the City’s “increasing relative closeness to Southern California’s shifting industrial (and population) center.
A table of projected form numbers for the remainder of the 1960s showed that the total number was expected to jump from about 200 to nearly 700, including manufacturing companies growing from about 150 to near 500 and non-manufacturing from nearly 60 to over 210. Service firms were expected to grow at faster rates than manufacturing companies, as well, based on wider trends.
As for the number of employees, the expectation was a rise from 8,600 to over 30,000, with manufacturers having about 80% of that total, growing from 7,300 to over 24,000, while non-manufacturers would grow from 1,250 to over 6,000. These projections were based on Institute surveys with employers.
Other data concerned payrolls, shipments and value added by manufacture, while a “Summary of Projected Industrial Changes” combined all of this data into a table that showed growth rates by 1970 of roughly 2.5 to 4.25 times the existing conditions at the end of 1963.
The authors also recommended that the City consider annexing land along the 60 Freeway as work continued through the remaining years of the decade because freeway-adjacent land was obviously well-suited for industrial and commercial purposes while being “compatible with the spreading residential usage in the Puente Hills to the south.”
A table of assessed valuation also expected significant increases, from about $53 million in actual values for 1963 to an assumption of over $100 million by spring 1970. Taxable retail transactions were projected to rise from under $70 million to about $120 million by 1970. It was also expected that, while early receipts were heavier from manufacturing and wholesaling businesses, it would be retail outlets that would provide far more revenue, about 65% of the total, by the end of the Sixties.
It was pointed out that, while the growth of firm and employee numbers was projected to triple, revenues were expected to increase by 75%, which would be a long-term issue in terms of disbursements for needed projects, such as road and street improvements and maintenance. Consequently, it was recommended the City consider assessment districts to raise the funds needed to cover the costs of those expected expenditures.
Next week, we’ll carry on with a look at the demand for industrial land and the influence of freeway development on the City.