Johnson Corridor Recommendation Notes

MCC/Dist 6 Johnson Corridor Recommendation Notes for GPAC 03-21-23

Design is important for all new Johnson Drive area development and should fit the Ventura character and look. Johnson Drive being the gateway into Ventura from the south should be aesthetically pleasing and functional, as this is the first impression visitors have of our community. We don’t want to look like an extension of the Wagon Wheel development in Oxnard which is too tall, too dense, buildings too close together, cookie-cutter clones, buildings too plain and stark. Furthermore, Wagon Wheel seems to have failed in attracting businesses, as most of the ground floor retail spaces are not leased.

Given the complexity of this area, being a rich collage of residential, commercial, industrial, railroad, freeway access, roadways/traffic circulation, and so on, we propose further discussion and collaboration with the GPAC members to handle all of the delicate intricacies.

Our Executive Summary below highlights the highest priorities, consolidated from input from our community during public meetings and through postings on Nextdoor. We support parts from each of the Johnson Drive designations; Base, Core, Expansion and Distributed (even though we used the picture of the Base map above), but none in their entirety. Also, there are new questions we are posing to the community, such as moving the Metrolink station and the potential for related TOD development, and we’ll continue to share further feedback as it develops.

Executive Summary

1: Traffic and Traffic Circulation:

Before any building plans are finalized, create a Traffic Circulation Plan for the Johnson Area thatcreates/provides a road network for the entire area, especially the Johnson Drive Corridor, that ensures it can more than handle the
planned growth and density. Our support for any planned growth in this plan area is contingent on this. Have a plan to resolve the traffic issues first before (or at least concurrently with) approving the land use changes. The plan must fully mitigate current and prospective traffic issues. A critical item that must be resolved is the currently very dangerous intersection where the northbound 101 Johnson Drive offramp/onramp intersects with North Bank Drive and Ventura Blvd. A solution must be found, even if it requires some roadway realignment or alterations to traffic circulation patterns. Second, the southbound 101 Johnson Drive onramp backs up during rush hour with the current traffic load and comes to a complete standstill nearly weekly when a truck with more than 3 axels gets stuck in the onramp that’s shaped like a corkscrew. Similarly, the traffic flow along Ventura Blvd. (frontage road north of 101 Fwy) between Victoria Ave and Johnson Drive (North Bank Dr) must not create bottlenecks at either the west of east end of Ventura Blvd, or on the freeway itself. Emergency evacuation routes for all of East Ventura will flow through this area and must be considered.

2: Sensitivity to and compatibility with adjacent Residential Neighborhoods, especially Single Family Residential is critical.

A key issue here is the heights/stories of proposed buildings. Where proposed new buildings approach nearby existing residential, it is our strong advice that the new buildings “taper” down in height as they approach residential to not negatively impact the quality of life and value of the existing homes.

3: Height Maximums and Setbacks:

No building throughout the plan area should exceed four stories in height (4-story Maximum) and lower stories/heights are warranted when tapering into exiting residential. In order to maintain “eyes on the street,” one of the key elements to walkable neighborhoods, this height maximum should not be exceeded. Since traffic and traffic circulation is already an issue, there is no need to exacerbate the situation with even taller buildings that create even higher densities, and the resulting greater traffic problems. Additionally, adequate setbacks for housing units should be established for the safety of the residents, their children and pets.

4. Save and support the rich bounty of existing small businesses and encourage growth.

All 4 zones have thriving small businesses that support our community and beyond. Come up with a cohesive plan that would boost/give facelifts to existing businesses and incentives if relocation of any small business is necessary. Look at what the City of San Clemente has done for the Los Molinas Business District to encourage growth of small businesses and expanding the City’s tax base. Also, take the example of the Santa Barbara Funk Zone. We support mixed use with lofts above art studios and galleries, wineries and breweries which equates to increasing job opportunities for working class and creative people.

Extended Notes

  • Solve 101 FWY onramp/offramp issues (re-align roadway and traffic circulation patterns as necessary) before or simultaneously with any new development. Add at least one more lane on Ventura Boulevard to allow traffic to safely turn into existing businesses.
    Developer’s could contribute to a traffic mitigation and infrastructure fund.
  • Require a minimum 250 feet buffer between the 101 Fwy and any Residential use to minimize exposure to air pollution from the freeway.
    In the 250 ft. buffer, uses that expose humans to air pollution for shorter durations, such as Commercial, Office Space, or a parking lot (even for residential) could be acceptable uses.
  • Keep the Montalvo Metrolink Station at its current location in Montalvo. It has historical significance and its conveniently located close to the freeway to serve anyone in Ventura. We oppose moving the Metrolink Station eastward into the SOAR protected area. The MCCDistrict 6 Board is still soliciting input/feedback on the proposed high density, very tall TOD (Transit Oriented Development), Mixed Use (first story commercial, residential on upper floors) adjacent to and south of the existing Metrolink Station. If TOD development were supported by our community, it would still need to not exceed 4-Stories in Height (Mixed Use 2) overall, and not to exceed 3-stories in height (Mixed Use 1) where directly across the rail line from existing residential (currently east of Katherine St).
  • Create a central space and park to be the heart of the community. During the pandemic, we witnessed the use of the Montalvo Hills Park increase dramatically, including Chi Gong, Dog Training and Zumba classes, sports camps for kids, dog walking, kids scootering, playing basketball and so on. Let’s facilitate the same amenities for the Johnson Drive Corridor by designing into the plan a central destination location for a park and services, like restaurants, grocery stores and entertainment, all located within a 15 minute walk of the new housing units.
  • When adding residential units, must include parks and ample green space acres/residential unit added for outdoor activity, dog walking and play areas for younger families.
  • We do not support extending North Bank Road through SOAR land, due to the likelihood of encouraging further development of that land.
  • Make informed and careful decisions about mixed use, in particular which type of businesses are below residential. Age demographics and affordability should be taken into consideration when it comes to nature of businesses below and the residents noise tolerance level.
  • Montalvo has numerous small businesses (including automotive, skilled crafts and construction trades). Instead of displacing them, let’s support them! Montalvo Elementary School is an Arts Academy, so the creative culture is formed here from an early age, thus our suggestions for including art galleries, lofts and studios as a part of the mixed use plan. Branding this area as The Montalvo Arts and Trades District could help struggling businesses thrive which in turn would increase tax revenue for the City

Special Meeting: Changes to Bylaws

Thursday, February 16

This special meeting is being held in order to vote on proposed changes to the bylaws. Please review the changes in red below and attend this brief meeting to vote. If the bylaw changes pass we will also vote to add two new member-at-large positions, expanding the board from 5 members to 7.

The current MCC District 6 Board is recommending David Olivas and Liz Montoya for the member-at-large positions.

VUSD Citizen’s Oversight Committee

The Ventura Unified School District is establishing a Citizen’s Oversight Committee to review expenditures associated with Measure E, which was approved by District voters on November 8, 2022. The Committee will be responsible for ensuring that bond revenues are used only as voters intended and for informing the public of bond expenditures. We are currently accepting applications for this important community work.  The Committee will have 7-11 members. Two members of the community at large, there must be at least one member from each of the following groups:

• One member who is active in a business organization representing the business community located within the school district.

• One member who is active in a senior citizen’s organization.

• One member who is the parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the school district.

• One member who is the parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the school district and is active in a parent-teacher organization.

• One member who is active in a bona-fide taxpayer’s organization.

In addition, the Board of Education wishes to maintain a balance in representation across the five Trustee areas.

Interested persons may download the Measure E Oversight Committee Application at or obtain a paper copy from the Superintendent’s office, located at 255 Stanley Avenue, Ventura, California. 

Applications are due by Tuesday, February 14, 2023, by 4pm either by email to or in-person or US Postal Mail to:

Ventura Unified School District
Attn: Vanessa Cordero
255 W. Stanley Ave.
Ventura, CA 93001

February Public Community Meeting

Tuesday, February 7, 2023
6:30 pm – 8:15 pm
6200 Montalvo Dr, Ventura

  • 6:30pm Open Meeting – Mark Abbe, MCC/Dist 6 Chair
  • 6:35pm VPD District 6 Crime Report – Commander Matt Cain
  • 6:45pm Active Transportation Plan projects and programs – Jennifer
  • 7:15pm Livable Ventura outlook on Ventura development – Eileen
    Shaw, Robert Guthrie
  • 7:35pm Councilmember update and report – Jim Duran
  • 7:45pm Ventura General Plan Action Committee report – Steph Karba
  • 7:55pm New Hope Recovery Home presentation – Ken Hartman
  • 8:10pm Closing statements

You can see recordings of previous meetings here:

Ventura River Trail Survey

Ventura Rail Trail Improvements Info

The Ventura River Trail Improvement Project seeks to renovate approximately 1.8-miles of the existing trail, from the Rex/Dubbers trail beginning at the southern limits to the City of Ventura limits, near Sycamore Village, on the north end. 

Funded by the Clean California Local Grant Program (CCLGP) for a total of nearly $5 million, this project will fund infrastructure improvements like repaving the trail, adding a comprehensive wayfinding and signage program, improving accessibility at key locations, adding solar lighting, and other various beautification and urban greening elements to help fill a growing need to provide improvements for this aging trail.

Your opinion matters! The city has created a survey that is short and EASY! Please click the link below to share your thoughts.


Ventura River Trail Survey – English

Ventura River Trail Survey – Spanish

***All info is copied from the Ventura City Website.

Santa to a Senior

The goal is to provide joy and holiday cheer to our community’s homebound seniors.

Gifts collected from November 21 through December 13 will be delivered to homebound seniors enrolled in the City’s Senior Nutrition Meal Program during the week of December 20, 2022.

Thank you for helping us spread holiday joy this season!

How to Participate

There are two ways to become a Santa to a Senior:

1. Visit our Santa to a Senior trees located at City Hall, Room 226 or at the Ventura Aquatic Center to choose a specific gift request directly from the tree.  

– OR – 

2. Purchase a gift from the list below and drop it off at one of our designated Santa to a Senior drop-off locations. 

Reminder: Please leave gifts unwrapped.

Gift Ideas

  • Crafting supplies/yarn 
  • Jigsaw puzzles/puzzle books (large print) 
  • Jumbo playing cards 
  • Games & trivia challenges 
  • Coloring books for adults 
  • Stationary set/stamps 
  • Books (large print) 
  • Reader rest 
  • SnapPower Guidelights 
  • Flashlights 
  • Hair accessories 
  • Robes & slippers 
  • Blankets 
  • White noise machine 
  • Warm sweaters 
  • Warm scarf & gloves 
  • Bath towels 
  • Toiletry items 
  • Nail kit/manicure set 
  • Window bird feeders 
  • Coffee/tea sets 
  • Gift cards (major grocery/retail stores)

GPAC Survey Results

11/15/22 General Plan Advisory Committee Meeting

Our November public meeting has been postponed due to a conflict with the next GPAC meeting which will take place on Tuesday, November 15 in the Community Meeting Room at City Hall from 6:00-8:30 pm. At the meeting, the General Plan Team will release the land use alternative survey results and the GPAC will discuss how they can work together to review the results and develop a process for preparing a preferred land use direction for the City. The survey results will be posted on the website on Tuesday night. We would like to encourage the residents of district 6 to attend this meeting. Now is the time to get involved if you’d like to have a say in the future development of our city.

Annual Board Elections 12/6/22

Board positions for Vice Chair and Secretary are up for election this year. Vice Chair, Cassie Lawhead, and Secretary, Lisa Gasaway, have been nominated for re-election.  If anyone would like to run for either of these two offices, we will take nominations from the floor (Zoom or in person) at our Dec. 6 Public Meeting. All candidates have to be present and willing to serve.

Ventura City is Recruiting for Boards, Commissions, and Committees

The City of Ventura invites residents to get involved in decisions that impact the community. There are currently 10 openings across several City boards, commissions, and committees. These positions assist and advise the City Council on various programs and projects. All applications are due by Wednesday, November 9, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. 

-There are four openings on the Local Construction Appeals Board. This seven-member advisory board meets annually in January with additional meetings as needed. The board decides on appeals made by the Building Official or Fire Marshal relative to the application and interpretation of the City’s building requirements. 

-There is one opening on the Mobile Home Rent Review Board. This five-member advisory board meets on the third Thursday of every quarter (February, May, August, and November) at 3:00 p.m. to receive, investigate, hold hearings on, and act on the issues relating to mobile home park rent stabilization. 

-There is one opening on the Historic Preservation Committee. This five-member committee meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. to make recommendations concerning the designation of historic districts, landmarks, sites, and points of interest significant to the heritage and development of the City’s Mills Act contracts. They also provide recommendations for applications affecting identified or potential historic resources. 

-There are three openings on the Downtown Parking Advisory Committee. This seven-member advisory committee meets on the third Thursday of the month at 3:00 p.m. to advise on parking management strategies and programs in the Downtown Parking District area. This includes capital budgets, hours of operations, parking pricing policies, valet programs, and employee commuter parking policies. 

-There is one opening on the Measure O Citizen Oversight Committee. Recruitment is open to residents who are not an employee or dependent of an employee for the City of Ventura. This seven-member committee meets quarterly on the first Tuesday of the month to review the projected revenues and recommended expenditures for the funds generated by Measure O. The committee also makes recommendations to the City Council as a part of the City’s budget process. 

Vacancies occur either by the expiration of a term or resignations during the year. Per San Buenaventura Ordinance 2019-003, no citizen may serve on more than one committee, commission, or board. Dual appointments are not permitted. 

For questions or to apply for a position, contact the City Clerk’s Office at (805) 658-4787 or email To learn more about the City’s boards, commissions, or committees, visit