Sidewalks Community Meeting

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019
6:30-8:15pm
Lighthouse Church, 6200 Montalvo Dr.

Ventura city planning staff will return to Montalvo for a follow-up meeting regarding the sidewalks project.  See previous posts:

Sidewalks
Sisewalks Update

We’re hoping to see many of your suggestions from the last meeting integrated into the most recent design.  Hope to see you there, especially if your property will be impacted by construction along Moon Dr, Grand Ave, Bristol Rd or James Ave.

Sidewalks Update Nov. ’18

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The City of Ventura Transportation Division would like to engage Ventura residents during the planning process for the upcoming Montalvo neighborhood bicycle and pedestrian improvements.  The designs are currently in progress and set for first phase completion in April/May, 2019.   Groundbreaking will be in the Fall of 2020.  The MCC will partner with city engineers to host an informational session.

Montalvo Neighborhood Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Info Session
Tuesday, Dec 4
6:30-8:00pm
Lighthouse Church, 6200 Montalvo Dr, Ventura

Please mark your calendars and plan to come prepared with any questions or concerns.  You may also contact the team directly if your property will be directly impacted by construction along Moon Dr, Grand Ave, Bristol Rd, James Ave, Bell St, and potentially Katherine Ave.

Below you can see an old version of an early planning scope created by the MCC.  There will be much more detailed information available at the meeting.

MontalvoSidewalks

 

 

Public Hearing 10/29/18 RE: Historic Montalvo Land Use Designations

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The City Council will be hearing the General Plan Refinement as it pertains to their direction to change the land use designation for the R-1-6 and R-1-1AC properties that currently have the Neighborhood Medium General Plan Designation.  Below is the public notice that went out to the surrounding property owners.

PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE – City Council

DATE:  Monday – 10/29/2018   TIME:  6:00 PM

PLACE: City Hall Council Chambers, 501 Poli Street, Ventura CA

PROJECT:  PROJ-12142     APPLICANT:  City of Ventura, Community Development Dept.

FOR INFORMATION CALL:      Iain Holt, AICP, (805) 654-7752 / iholt@cityofventura.ca.gov

PURPOSE:  The City Council of the City of San Buenaventura (Ventura) will conduct a public hearing to consider a General Plan Amendment to change the General Plan Designation from Neighborhood Medium to Neighborhood Low for properties currently zoned R-1-6 and R-1-1AC along Alameda Avenue, Grand Avenue, James Avenue, Bristol Road, Bell Street, Clara Street, Katherine Avenue, Geneva Street, and Montalvo Drive, within the Montalvo Community and update the General Plan Figure 3-1 Infill Areas, Figure 3-3 Planning Communities and Figure 3-5 General Plan Diagram to reflect previously approved City Council General Plan Amendments and LAFCo Sphere of Influence actions.

Thank you,
Iain Holt, AICP
Principal Planner
Community Development Dept.
City of Ventura
(805) 654-7752 phone
(805) 654-7560 fax

“Collaborating with our Neighbors to Create a Thriving, Prosperous, Safe and Sustainable Ventura.”

Moundwell 3

UPDATE  2.6.19

Good morning,

My name is Neal Knopik and I’m the project manager for the Mound Well 3 project for the City of Ventura.  The drilling phase that has been causing the noise concern in your area is essentially complete.  The well is drilled and the pump testing and design phase is done.  The contractor, Zim Industries, will be onsite for the until the end of next week checking the alignment, cleaning up the site and demobilizing (weather permitting).  There is another phase coming in the near future so we can let you know in advance of starting.  Feel free to call or email me with any questions you might have.

Regards,

Neal R. Knopik, PE, QSD/QSP
Civil Construction Engineer
805-677-3953

www.cityofventura.ca.gov


Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Printer



Please see the previous posts regarding this project:

Moundwell 3
Moundwell Update

Letter from City of Ventura Public Works Department received 10/5/18:

Hello Neighbors,

The City will be distributing door knob hanger informing your neighborhood about the construction of Mound Well 3 project to start next week, October 8th. 

The Contractor’s first activity is to bring in the sound wall panels and posts.  Followed by the actual erection of the sound wall along the project site perimeter.   You should expect normal construction noise during the day.  Please share this information to your neighbor as I don’t have all their email addresses.

When this project is completed, it will augment the existing City water supply up to 3,000 gallons per minute; which, will put us in a better position as opposed to other cities who relies solely on the State water supply from the north.

Chris Dejarme, P.E.
Senior Civil Engineer
City of Ventura Public Works Department
501 Poli St.  Box 99   Ventura, CA 93002-0099
Fax: (805) 641-2775|Office: (805) 654-7821|Mobile: (805) 407-8412

R-1, Low-Density Zoning

Monday, July 17, 2018, the Ventura City Council (finally) voted to accept or shoot down the General Plan Refinement process that’s been going on and off since 2014. The Planning Commission voted it down last April and it was now before the City Council to accept or reject.

The MCC Board feared that if this Refinement Plan was voted against, our efforts over the past 4+ years would be for not; and we could not revisit this again until the 2021 General Plan community engagement process. Which could be in another 3-5 years! In the interim, our community would have a target on us for developers to come in and possibly build condos, apartments and other types of higher density housing next to or in place our current single-family homes. The Board decided to force the City Council to hear us in a final attempt to address this issue. It was a gamble and we needed our little community to rally, but it kind of worked!

The Bad News- We did not get the 36’/45’ Victoria Corridor height restrictions we hoped for. Those were voted against 4-2. At this time, it appears that that issue will be revisited during the community engagement process for the 2021 General Plan. It’s not dead, it’s going into a long hibernation!

The Good News- The Council agreed 6-0 to accept our request to correct and protect ALL Montalvo Neighborhood residences currently zoned  R-1 (Single Family Residential) need to be matched with the Land Use designation of Neighborhood – Low Density (0 – 8 dwelling units per acre). &  All Montalvo Neighborhood residences currently zoned R-2 (duplexes) need to be matched with the Land Use designation of Neighborhood – Medium Density (9 to 20 dwelling units per acres). This will match the current zoning to the corresponding land use designation in the Montalvo Annexation area. All 200+ homes that were at risk are now protected! A huge victory for Montalvo!!

Other victories…

1)  We have heard that this was the most letters sent in on a single issue before this City Council in memory.
2)  We now have R-1 properties adjacent to the commercial zones. This will hopefully strengthen our positions for the Alameda residents about height when it comes up again.
3) The city council heard us loud and clear about the height concerns on the Victoria Corridor. Future (costly) commerce studies will need to be completed and civic engagement with our community will take place prior to 2021 General Plan. So… we’ll need you all and more to rally again when that time comes!!

Thank you to all who wrote in. It truly helped our cause! We also had folks come down and support the speakers and fill out additional comment cards. But most importantly, were those who spoke passionately, eloquently and clearly on our behalf. We owe them a huge debt! We definitely made a presence at this meeting! 

Want to hear what they said?? Click this link to the video –>  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOYcSEOQDp4

I tried to edit down the 3+ hours meeting to ONLY the Montalvo sections. If you have :24 minutes, please watch your neighbors speak to the council (the first half of the video). If you want to see the Council discuss and later vote, continue watching. Total video is 0:55 min long.

THANK YOU to everyone who lent their time, voices, emails, etc helping us on this important cause over the past four years. It is a reminder that as a community they may try to wear us down, but we are stronger & louder when we band together! They heard us!

General Plan Update, Monday, 07/16/18 6p

We NEED your help NOW!

We had all hoped this would all be behind us by now!
The city council agenda for next Monday was posted today. The Montalvo Community Council has just learned that the The General Plan is once again (unexpectedly) before the Ventura City Council as Agenda Item # 9 (2021 General Plan Update).  If you are opposed to the recent scale of Island View Apartments adjacent to our single family homes, and would like to prohibit similar growth in the future in our neighborhood, we invite you to attend the City Council Meeting this coming Monday.

Item 9

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At the Planning Commission Public Hearing on 04/11/18, the General Plan Amendment Case No. GPA-2-18-43787 lost 6-1 and appeared to be shelved for the unforeseeable.
(see previous post) Prior to this, the Montalvo Community Council had been working for over 4 years with the City Planning Staff and City Council; and we thought we were at the finish line and getting about 90% of what the Montalavo Residents were asking for.

Want a quick refresher on this whole Montalvo/General Plan subject? 
(see the MCC response letter to the city from 2014)


How Can You Help?? Its Very Simple!
Just let your city council members know how you feel
one of these 4 ways. Remember, they represent & work for YOU!


1) Attend the City Council Meeting Monday, July 16th, 6pm

    A) Fill out a GREEN SPEAKER CARD if you’d like 3 minutes to address the Council  or
    B) Fill out a PINK COMMENT CARD if you’d rather not speak.
(you can leave after you’ve done this without having to stay for the whole meeting)

2) If you cannot attend the meeting
    A) Please call or email your city council at 805-654-7827 or by sending an email
council@cityofventura.net
             (by Sunday Evening 07/15/18 so the council members have time to read it)
    B) Hand deliver your letter to the City Council Secretary by Monday 07/16/18, 3pm

Keep your message short and simple. There are two main things we as asking for.


(Sample Statement. Please feel free to “borrow”)



RE: City Council Meeting 07/16/18 – AGENDA ITEM 9

If the city council decides at this meeting, that they want to postpone the General Plan Update(s) until 2021;

1) We ask that the council direct staff to adjust the current Land Use Designation Map to match the current Zoning Map for the Montalvo Annexation Areas as soon as possible (prior to the 2021 General Plan). Specifically, categorizing existing single family homes as R-1/Neighborhood Low. This would let prospective developers know the long term land use intent for this area is NOT for Neighborhood Medium (condos/apartments) development.
[Simply, the Historic Montalvo neighborhood needs to remain R-1/low density.]

2) We ask that the council direct staff to adjust commercial property overlays (Including CPD, MPD, M1, T4-5/8/9-Victoria Corridor Zones) within this area, to have a maximum allowable building height of 36′ south of Moon Drive; and a maximum allowable building height of 45′ north of Moon Drive (as a transition), when the properties are adjacent to existing R-1 single family dwelling units.
[Simply, any future development adjacent to a single-family residence needs to have a maximum height of 36 feet.]

The previous times the Montalvo Community has addressed this item before the City Council, our requests have been generally supported and staff had been given direction by this council to honor our requests. We would like to close this chapter of our community’s 2012 annexation, and not have to continue to drag it into the years to come awaiting the 2021 General Plan to address these concerns.

Thank you.



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If you would like to be emailed about various upcoming city meetings, you may sign up to be automatically notified here. Just select the items you are interested in.


Here is the fine print if you don’t want to follow the links.

(Pages 13 & 14)
Part Four: General Plan Refinement Project

On May 9, 2018 the Planning Commission passed a resolution recommending denial of the General Plan Refinement project and not to adopt the Mitigated Negative Declaration. Actions recommended for denial included the following components: 1) Amendments creating distribution of residential options in Commerce and proposed Mixed-Use designated land use areas; 2) General Plan and Zoning Amendments for Victoria Avenue Corridor and Montalvo Annexation area to address land use and neighborhood compatibility; 3) resolution of inconsistencies between the General Plan and Zoning; and 4) Amendments to the 2014-2021 Housing Element, Our Prosperous Community Chapter and Our Well Planned and Designed Community Chapter of the General Plan. After consideration of public testimony and deliberation during a lengthy April 11, 2018 public hearing, the Planning Commission could not make the findings for recommending approval due to the following points:

  1. Inadequate public process and civic engagement,
  2. The scope of the GP Refinement poses more significant policy considerations that need to be incorporated into GP Update; Infill Principles to be revisited as part of the visioning process for the General Plan Update,
  3. Request staff to contact individual property owners of inconsistent parcels from GP Refinement Correspondence per April 11, 2018 and Sept. 12, 2016 meetings,
  4. Lack of market driven and adequate analysis for Mixed-Use/Commerce restrictions on residential and mixed-use flexibility and parking analysis, and
  5. Use staff or consultant to recommend goals and actions for GP Update and Land Use Policies.

Staff has already commenced the initial steps towards the anticipated 3-year General Plan Update and mandated next Housing Element cycle, which includes collection of background data, including existing 2005 General Plan policies and actions and any other policy considerations during the planning period. The components of the General Plan Refinement project including land use and policy changes and infill principles will be included for discussion during the General Plan Update civic engagement process. Staff and the Planning Commission recommend incorporating the components of the General Plan Refinement as part of the comprehensive analysis of the 2021 General Plan Update, which as noted previously in Part One of this report would return for Council direction in April 2019.

 

 

Speak now or forever* hold your peace…

**UPDATE ~  06/07/18**

General Plan Amendment Case No. GPA-2-18-43787 Public Hearing Date of 04/11/18 LOST 6-1 at the Planning Commission Hearing and appears to be shelved for the unforeseeable. A big Thank You to all those who wrote in and showed up downtown to help with the fight recently and over the years. We really thought we had gotten about 90% of what were asking for and were at the end of this long 4 year battle.

We are now in limbo for appears to be until 2021* at the earliest! We’ll let you know when we hear anything.

For now….   back to square 1 😦

(*i.e. after the next two city council election cycles after all Voting Districts have council representation and the General Plan is re-visited in it’s entirety)

 

Original Post

After 4+ years of back and forth with the city of Ventura; the time has finally arrived!!

The Refinement to the current City of Ventura General Plan is FINALLY up for a vote before the City Planning Commission this Wednesday at 6pm. After that vote, it goes before the city council to be ratified.

* most likely many years before another opportunity comes along to amend this document and then may be too late! This is your LAST CHANCE for input on this document.

We are pleased to report that most of the items the Montalvo Community has been pushing for during this time, we’ve got!!


• 204 Parcels within Montalvo Neighborhood Area that are currently zoned R-1– 6 change from Residential Neighborhood Medium to Neighborhood Low Land Use designation to reflect the Montalvo Community Councils request in preserving the neighborhood character;
• Three parcels within Moon Drive Overlay and three parcels within the Montalvo Neighborhood Area change from Residential Neighborhood High to Neighborhood Medium Land Use designation to reflect the Montalvo Community Councils request in preserving the neighborhood character;
• Three parcels within Montalvo Neighborhood Area that are currently zoned Commercial Planned Development (CPD) within existing commercial development from Residential Neighborhood Medium to Commerce Land Use designation;
• Restrictions on Adult Businesses & Homeless Shelters;
• Overlay Zones that reduce Commercial Building Heights in several areas to
cap at 3 stories (down from 6).
A FULL list of items can be fund here (pages 16-20)

There is only one major UN-resolved concern in the Staff Report (pg. 16)
As currently proposed, the commercial building height cold be as high as 45’+ along Victoria Ave. with the properties that share a rear property with the Alameda Ave. property owners. Any future building heights above 36′ would have a significant impact on privacy and sunlight for these existing single story homes. This is our only chance to protect them. See our 2016 shade study graphics for reference.


3 WAYS YOU CAN YOU HELP!

General Plan Amendment Case No. GPA-2-18-43787 Public Hearing Date of 04/11/18 6pm

  1. ATTEND the Planning Commission Meeting Wednesday April 11,2018  6pm
    Council Chambers, 501 Poli Street. Meeting Agenda Can Be Found Here
    ~ BE THERE to support your community and council for the things we ARE getting
    and to ensure that those promised items stay in the document until ratified by the
    city council.                              &
    ~ FILL OUT a comment card to address the Commissioners
    or
    ~ FILL OUT a speaker card to address the Commissioners
  2. WRITE your Planning Commissioners; Deadline April 11, 2018 5:00p,
    -2 pages maximum (including exhibits); Number of copies to be submitted (15)
     Address: 501 Poli St,. Council Chambers, Ventura, CA 93001
      or
    -eMail them at pc@cityofventura.ca.gov
  3. CALL your Planning Commissioners; Deadline April 11, 2018 5:00p,
    -Phone: 805-654-7893
  4. (Bonus way! Share this info with your neighbors ASAP!!)
    ANY VENTURA CITIZEN MAY ATTEND OR SPEAK TO THE COMMISSIONERS
    you do not to be in the Montalvo boundaries!
The Planning Commission has adopted Protocols for how their meetings are run. These Protocols are available at: https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/8414

If you want to avoid this type of living situation, do one or all 3 of the aboveIMG_3670

The MCC has submitted a letter (below) and will speak at the Planning Commission Meeting this Wednesday.  If you are a concerned resident, please join us to make your feelings known.  This will be the final opportunity for public comment before the General Plan will be adopted. -Thank you!


Your MCC Board submitted this letter today (04/09/18)

Ventura City Planning Commission Councilmembers
City Hall 501 Poli St
Ventura, CA 93001

RE: General Plan Refinement Project No: 12142
General Plan Amendment Case No. GPA-2-18-43787
Public Hearing Date of 04/11/18

04/09/18

Dear Planning Commission Councilmembers and Planning Staff,

The Montalvo Community Council has reviewed the latest iteration of the General Plan Refinement, Public Comment Letters and Staff Report before you. We are thankful to the Planning staff for multiple meetings with our board and assisting in community engagement during this long multi-year process.  We feel that the Council and Staff have honored our community concerns related to the heights of future neighboring commerce buildings along the Victoria Corridor.  We look forward to future development that is compatible with our neighboring Single Family Residential homes.

When the City of Ventura adopted the 2005 General Plan, followed by the Victoria Avenue Corridor Plan & Development Code in April 2009, a portion of the Victoria Corridor and neighboring Montalvo was still part of the unincorporated area under county jurisdiction. During these planning phases, the Montalvo residents were not a part of the planning/development conversations for this area. It was only after the Montalvo area became incorporated into the city in September 2012, that the area residents became familiar with The Ventura General Plan & The Victoria Corridor plan and their respective proposals for our little community. Since then, the citizens of the Montalvo area have been working with the city Planning staff and councils to remedy the General Plan for future growth to be congruent with our little 65+ year old neighborhood.

At the meeting on September 12, 2016 the City Council voted 5-1 to approve staff recommendations for the general plan refinement with amendments. One important amendment made to item number 5 was to “incorporate the Montalvo Community Council’s recommendations.” We want to thank the staff for following the council’s instructions and making our community’s requested changes.

We (and the community we serve) are most pleased and grateful for the majority of the changes made to the General Plan during this refinement process. We felt compelled to address the recent resulting public comments and staff report now before this agency.

1) Building Heights along the T4.5 Victoria Ave. within the Moon Drive Overlay area.

We agree with the staff report that a 24′ overall building height limitation would be limiting to commercial development.  “2 ½ story structures with a maximum height of 30 feet.”  overall height limit, matching the neighboring R-1 zoning description, would be acceptable for future development.  We also do not object to a 15′ minimum ground floor height as long as the overall building height does not exceed 30′.  Our goal is to mitigate privacy and sunlight concerns for the R-1 Alameda Ave. property-owners and residents. The community would like to see any future development on the portion of Victoria Ave. that shares a property line with those on Alameda Ave., be compatible with one another, rather than looming over them. Even with a 30’ height limitation, roofing pitch, elevator bulkheads and other rooftop mounted equipment atop commercial buildings will add significant height and shadowing well above the 30’ limit that will affect the Alameda properties. Our primary intent for the General Plan in this area is to mitigate that building heights be compatible with current single story homes in the area. Please see attached Exhibits A-C that express our sunlight and privacy concerns. The current Moon Drive Overlay Resolution 84-85, required alley widths of 20’ and setbacks of 5’ also aid in mitigating these concerns.

2) Kim Ingram (IS-MND) Comment Letter Dated 03/09/18

On 01/24/2017, Mr. Kim was kind enough to attend our public MCC community meeting and presented/lead a discussion with the attendees about his future plans for developing his three Alameda Ave. property parcels into a future Senior Care facility. Most in attendance were engaged in the discussion and generally supportive of Mr. Ingram’s plans for his parcel and welcomed the idea of this type of facility in our neighborhood.

The community is supportive of Mr. Ingram’s project and understands the impact that the current proposed General Plan Refinement would have on his future development plans.  We did not take his project into consideration during our back and forth with the city. We would have no issue with the Planning Commission making amendments for these parcels of the Moon Drive Overlay to accommodate Mr. Ingram’s requests and defer to the Planning Commission’s judgment on this matter. We would ask that a 3-Story limitation be applied, as was in Mr. Ingram’s proposal to our community last year. Our hope for this area has always been to actas a transitional area bridging the Commercial and Island View Apartments adjacent to single family residences.

We do not object to future commercial development along Victoria Ave. We just want to ensure that what will come in the future is compatible with its neighbors who have been here much longer.

It’s been a long process working with the different agencies assisting us in our transition since our little community was annexed into the city back in 2012. We as a community would like to express our sincere thanks to City Planning Staff (especially Mr. Holt, Mr. Lambert & Mr. Ward), the City Council General Plan Refinement Ad hoc Committee, the City Planning Commission and the City Council (past and current members) for working with us to refine the General Plan to a document that promotes thoughtful and reasonable growth while remaining sensitive to our 65+ year old community.

Respectfully submitted on behalf the MCC Board.

MCC Community Meeting (3/20/18)

03-20-18 MCC Agenda
MCC Community Meeting (Open to the public and neighboring communities)
3/20/2018
6:30pm – 8:15pm
(**not our usual Four-Square Church meeting place**)
Location:
Seed Communities Church 2734 Johnson Dr., Ventura, CA 93003

6:30p Welcome
6:35p-7:00p Ventura Police Department Presentation/Update
– District 6 Crime Report  (SEE BELOW)
7:00p-7:30 Ventura City Council Member Speaker – Christy Weir
http://www.christyweir.com
– Various issues, including New Voting Districts (Montalvo District 6) & in Pipeline Projects in our district (Johnson Dr.)
-Q&A
7:30-7:50p Discussion on Future Montalvo Community Council Boundary Expansion
based upon the New 2018 Ventura District-Based Election Map
7:50-8:00p Upcoming General Plan Changes  It’s finally here!
-Discuss highlights the proposed General Plan Refinement updates for the Victoria Corridor & Montalvo Adoption By Ventura Planning Commission/City Council
Coming This Spring!
Please read the MCC response to the upcoming
2018 Ventura General Plan Refinement
2018 MCC GP RESPONSE TO IAN HOLT
8:00-8:05p Montalvo Recycling Fundraiser – Dan Farmer
Montalvo Recycled Aluminum Drive (MRAD)
8:05p-8:15p Wrap Up
May 1st Next MCC Public Meeting (Tentative)
MCC Zone 6
New Ventura Election Map Zone 6 (& proposed Montalvo Community Council boundaries)

VTA PD DIST 6 CRIME REPORT.jpg

Northbank Apartments

Large development set to break ground in 2018 at the corner of Johnson Dr and Northbank.

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“…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
http://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/communities/ventura/2018/02/12/ventura-officials-clear-way-new-housing/332236002/


Full report here:
https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10293

Design Review Report here:
https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10846


Opinion piece regarding riverfront access:
https://www.vcreporter.com/2015/06/opportunity-knocks-for-amenities-on-the-santa-clara-river-in-east-ventura/

“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.”