LA PUENTE — The city’s first redevelopment project continues to move forward, but some council members disagree on the direction. The La Puente City Council, serving as the city’s redevelopment agency, approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with Primestor Development to develop the 6.5-acre former bowling alley site at 1255-1301 Hacienda Blvd. The city bought the property for $3.36 million. Primestor proposes a mixed-use project with housing and retail, with separate parking for each. The redevelopment agency voted 3-2 Tuesday, with agency members John Solis and Lola Storing dissenting, to approve the agreement. Housing does not fit on Hacienda Boulevard, Solis said. The city could attract Lowe’s or another major retailer if it goes with a big-box concept rather than mixed use, he said. “We need to think about what is going to make the city money,” Solis said. The council interviewed several developers in the past six months, Councilman Lou Perez said. He questioned why Solis kept quiet until now. The project could bring in $815,000 annually to the city in tax revenue, said Arturo Sneider with Primestor. The proposal does not require financial help from the city and is designed to attract national retailers, he said. The one-year exclusive negotiating agreement sets tasks Primestor must accomplish, such as completing an environmental study and submitting a project schedule within three months. Mixed use fits better on Main Street, not Hacienda Boulevard, Solis said. He also said that Mayor Louie Lujan should have abstained from voting because he accepted campaign contributions from Primestor. “He should not be allowed to vote,” Solis said. But City Attorney Jamie Casso said state law does not prevent an elected official from accepting such a contribution. Campaign contributions do not influence his council decisions, Lujan said. The city decided on Primestor after whittling down a large list of candidates and going through reference checks, he said. “To assume after going through a lengthy process that a campaign contribution would influence that is not valid,” Lujan said. Storing said she voted against the agreement because the city should maximize the earning potential of the site by having only commercial developments. The housing component will make money initially when the units are sold, but then La Puente will spend money providing services to those new residents. The potential for tax generation at the bowling alley site is excellent, and mixed use also addresses regional housing needs, Lujan said. “At the very core of this is a simple black-and-white issue, stick with the mindset of the 1950s or move ahead,” Lujan said. “Looking back we will realize what we did was the right thing.” — Rodney Tanaka can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2230, or by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!