Large development set to break ground in 2018 at the corner of Johnson Dr and Northbank.
“…The council approved a zone change that clears the way for 306 apartments to be built at Johnson and North Bank drives. The roughly 8-acre site is near Highway 101, the Santa Clara River and a Motel 6.
The units will range from 668 square-foot studios to three-bedroom units that are 1,759 square feet, according to the city’s staff report.
The council approved the zone change on a 5-2 vote, with Mayor Neal Andrews and council member Christy Weir opposed. Both expressed concern with traffic and Andrews felt the project was too dense.
Weir said the lack of park space bothered her — the quarter-acre public park was small for the number of children expected to live in the complex and and they wouldn’t really be able to walk to any park nearby, she said — as did the height of the buildings that blocked mountain views from the freeway and the city’s uncertain water supply.
But a council majority and several who spoke agreed the project offered badly needed housing and would help activate a part of the city that has languished in recent years, particularly as The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard has flourished.
“I welcome the addition of workforce housing,” council member Erik Nasarenko said.
Ventura Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Stephanie Caldwell said the addition of residents could help revitalize an area that soon could be home to thriving restaurants, shops and services.
“The city needs a win. We need progress,” she said.
Ravello Holdings, the developer, will include 19 units for low and very low-income populations. In the city’s housing element, its blueprint for ensuring it has enough housing types to accommodate all income levels, the site was identified as having 55 units for the lowest earners. But the city has other sites identified to make up the difference, the December staff report to the Planning Commission notes.
Ravello will also pay $2.4 million in water fees, money that will help the city develop new sources of water. If a development lacks its own water source or rights, the city charges an “in-lieu” fee, which is based on the amount of water a development is expected to use. The fee was $26,457 per acre-foot when it was approved in June 2016.”
-Excerpt from VC Star Article
Full report here:
Design Review Report here:
Opinion piece regarding riverfront access:
“In the near future, many buildings are coming to the corner of Johnson and North Bank Drive in East Ventura (at the Hwy. 101 exit). A project currently proposed and under review by the city of Ventura contains 300-plus apartments and retail stores in the now empty lot. The project is adjacent to the Santa Clara River but contains no amenities to integrate or acknowledge the river’s ecological value. In fact, hundreds of acres of the river in the immediate vicinity are held by The Nature Conservancy with the intent of making them part of the future public Santa Clara River Parkway. The Nature Conservancy has been performing riparian and native plant restoration, endangered species recovery, and promoting sustainable environmental practices at this location for years. How often does a municipality have an international nonprofit group gifting a huge asset to them? It’s more than puzzling that there is no city vision in the building project; it’s a major failing.
Visionary planning on this project would include some amenities consistent with the Santa Clara River Parkway at this urban-nature interface. Obvious examples include:
Multipurpose stormwater detention basin/outdoor amphitheater. All new building projects are required to contain urban drainage from a 1.5-year frequency storm on-site (to reduce water pollution into surface streams). In this location, the detention basin could be designed as a dry-weather amphitheater and used for public education, nature programs, outdoor cultural festivals or specialized sports events. Wouldn’t this be a great location to start/end a bike race or hold a bird-a-thon? Revenue from events could support the facility maintenance.
Series of educational kiosks. Public kiosks highlighting the ecology of the river in the immediate area are the minimum inexpensive amenity in this urban-nature interface. Kiosks could explain topics such as effects of urbanization on the environment, wealth of rare plant and animal wildlife present, surface water and groundwater issues and the connection to the region, such as the estuary.
Eco-oriented commercial areas: seasonal or permanent. The project should expand on the adjacent existing bike path and linear park by incorporating areas reserved for small business such as bicycle services, farm produce market or entertainment/refreshment vendors. Find out about a similar situation at the Frog Spot on the Elysian Valley bike path along the LA River at www.thefrogspot.org.
Most importantly, this is the ideal time to plan and provide for consistent amenities between the proposed project and the Olivas Park Drive extension. The two locations are extremely close to each other, are both river-adjacent, and have superb potential to add value to the environmental stewardship of the area. Let’s have a non-vehicular route and Parkway-consistent amenities between the projects such as wildlife and scenic viewpoints, picnic areas, educational kiosks and more.”