It's a small world after all, and property values are serious business. In Anaheim, Calif., a proposal to put 1,500 attached homes just outside the gates of Disneyland and its adjacent California Adventure Park is rubbing Walt Disney Co. officials the wrong way. The plan, which calls for the conversion of commercially zoned land for residential use, has drawn criticism on the grounds that it would create an eyesore and infringe upon continued tourism development (including a possible third amusement park) to enhance the city's tax base.
With 40 percent of Anaheim's general fund fueled by tourism dollars, relations between city leaders and Disney execs have always been chummy. But in this case, pressure on elected officials to rectify an affordable housing shortage has come to loggerheads with the entertainment giant's desire to control the ambiance surrounding the spot it bills as the “happiest place on Earth.”
Anaheim's current zoning laws restrict new construction on the 25-acre parcel to tourism-related businesses, such as hotels, with an existing strip mall and two trailer parks grandfathered in. The proposed reforms would pave the way for developer SunCal to replace some 260 mobile homes with 1,300 condos and 200 low-income apartments in an effort to beef up the supply of much-needed affordable housing for the region's blue collar workers—many of whom count among Disney's 20,000 local employees.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.