This is another Disney Blog by a Disney fan who wants to talk about whatever he wants. Disney related, of course.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Disney vs. SunCal, Take II

I have previously posted about the ongoing debate between Disney and SunCal. I have always been a supporter of property owners rights. I will always have a problem being told what I can or can't build on something I own. At the same time I can see the reasons for zoning laws and I can understand why Disney is upset. After a little more research I think it is time for me to flip-flop. Thank god I'm not running for president.

When Anaheim created the Resort District they made a deal. They are now backing out of the deal most likely for campaign contributions. Disney isn't the only company upset by this. They are just the biggest and most vocal. The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce is also supporting the Save Our Anaheim Resort (SOAR) campaign. So many business owners in Anaheim are against this development being built in Anaheim.

The fact that SOAR was able to collect so many signatures should prove that most of the citizens of Anaheim are against the project. Maybe the city council should wake up and respect the wishes of the people who elected them.

Disney has been cast as a villain for seemingly wanting to squash low income housing. Has anybody heard SunCal's definition of low income? If the condo units they are building sell for $800,000 to $1,000,000, I don't know if these numbers are realistic or not, what would they be able to call low income? A unit for half price would be $400,000 to $500,000. Do you think your average Disney cast member could afford that? I can't afford that and I know that I make more than the average cast member.

If SunCal would put in writing their definition of low income housing and it truly was an amount that cast members and others working in the resort district could afford I might be flip-flopping again. Until they prove that people that live and work in Anaheim could afford the housing I think they should back off throwing around the words low and income.

I have seen numbers thrown around stating that Anaheim won't need more hotel rooms until 2020 or somewhere around there. At the same time I keep hearing that Disney's Anaheim hotels are running somewhere in the 90% to 95% occupancy range. So while hotel rooms in general may not have immediate need for expansion Disney could build more hotels. If they build a value resort similar to the All-Stars or Pop Century in Walt Disney World I would guess that they would fill many, many more rooms on a nightly basis.

Disney does not own the land that is being proposed for the SunCal project so they won't be building any hotels on it right away. If they are serious about opening a third park in Anaheim I think they should purchase the land and when they start building the third park build a hotel right across the street. I don't know if this is an option for Disney but it would stop the headlines and, as much as I hate to say this, the trailer park could stay until they get serious about the third park and a new hotel.

I do think that SunCal could be more open in this, but I also think that Disney may be headed down a slippery slope if/when the council sends their measure to a ballot. There is also a proposal to have all zoning decisions put before a public vote. I know that I am not educated enough to make zoning decisions so I would say that most of the general public isn't either. Maybe it won't matter. Most decisions in politics are swayed by the person with the most money so now instead of giving the money to politicians the money can be given to ad agencies and TV stations to sway the general public. I would prefer that Disney control the zoning of Disney parks though so I hope this other measure does not come to be.

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