Disney Winning Zoning Battle in Anaheim

For many months The Walt Disney Company has been fighting plans by the Anaheim City Council and developer SunCal to construct affordable housing within a stone's throw of "The Happiest Place on Earth."  Recent developments indicate that Disney may be winning the war.

According to an article in the November 5th edition of The Orange County Register, city council members are meeting to consider their next move after being informed by SunCal that they will not continue to pursue the project.

Key to SunCal's construction project was a rezoning of the 26-acre plot from the resort district to residential.  City Council supported the development and associated re-zoning, but opposition (primarily lead by TWDC) had pushed the issue to the point where it was to be put to public vote on June 6, 2008. 

Disney's public relations campaign has focused upon their contention that Anaheim's primary tourist district is a poor choice of location for affordable housing.  However, with the land sitting immediately adjacent to the Disneyland Resort, it stands to reason that Disney is waiting to make its own offer for the land should the SunCal project crumble. 

Other aspects of the project have begun to unravel in recent weeks.  In October the current property owner began to withdraw from the purchase agreement when SunCal failed to pay a half-million dollar fee to extend the deal.  SunCal retaliated by filing suit against the owner.  This latest notification to City Council seems to indicate that SunCal is growing weary of fighting a legal battle on multiple fronts. 

Last month The Walt Disney Company announced a series of investments in its flagship Disneyland Resort with a reported price tag of over $1.2 billion.  Within the next 4-5 years, Disney has grand plans to enhance the Disney's California Adventure theme park, renovate the two oldest hotels on property--the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier--and build additional rooms and DVC villas at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.  Securing additional land nearby could be the key to eventually adding a third theme park to the complex and additional hotel(s) and DVC villas.

Source:  The Orange County Register