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Notes From The President

Where does the time go? (Here we are in the Year of the Tiger and I am still writing the Year of the Ox on my checks.) It is difficult to believe that the Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation will be celebrating our tenth anniversary this year!

When VCHP formed in 2000, we established our mission to preserve the hillsides and open space in and around Ventura. We understand that the Ventura hillsides provide more than a pretty backdrop for our city. It has always been a VCHP goal to educate the public and public officials on how ecologically crucial it is to protect these watershed and wildlife corridor areas from development.

To preserve Ventura's hillsides, open space and quality of life, VCHP actively participates in influencing the public planning process.

A brief overview of our ten year history:

In 2001 VCHP spearheaded Measure P which Ventura voters passed by a 77% margin. Measure P established an Hillside Voter Participation Area (HVPA) for the 9000 acre hillside area north of Ventura. Measure P requires city voters to approve any residential development proposal before city services are extended to the hillside area.

In 2002 hillside landowners gave the Hillside Voter Participation Area a test, proposing Measure A: a plan to build 1,390 homes in the Ventura hillsides. With VCHP and SOAR help, this proposal was defeated by a 70% margin.

In 2003 the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy (VHC) split off from the Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation (VCHP). It was agreed VCHP would focus on protecting the hillsides and open space from development through public education and political action and VHC would form a land trust to focus on acquiring and managing the hillside land to assure permanent protection and public access for low-intensity recreation. Both groups are non-profit organizations with separate corporate officers. VCHP has 501(c) (4) status and VHC is a 501 (c) (3).

VCHP participated in the 2005 City of Ventura General Plan Update and encouraged the decision to remove the the hillsides area from being listed as an potential expansion area.

2003-2010: VCHP vetted and endorsed like-minded political candidates for elective office and joined statewide coalition efforts to defeat environmentally harmful land-use planning propositions. VCHP endorsed local environmentally friendly initiatives. VCHP supported like-minded organizations, such as VHC and SOAR, to promote open space preservation.

Through the years VCHP has continued to vet political candidates for agreement with the goal of preserving the hillside greenbelt in perpetuity for the environmental advantages of protecting: unspoiled wilderness, wildlife habitat, watershed, view shed and, ever more threatened by human encroachments, fragile ecosystems.

Due to the economic downturn, the most recent potential development threat to the hillside area failed to complete escrow. Nonetheless, potential development threats are real and with the eventual economic recovery, land speculators will come back as strong as ever. Knowing this VCHP remains vigilant and poised for action to address any threat to the hillsides, watersheds, and open space of Ventura.

If you would like to join VCHP supporters and receive notices regarding environmentally-oriented events and potential development threats, please go to the top of our home page and click on "Join Us." Our membership is free, and with your current email address, we will keep you posted on events that might be of interest to you. (We will not inundate you with emails--there would likely be less than a dozen a year.)

Since our membership is free, we sell a few VCHP products and accept donations to raise money to promote hillside and open space preservation. A beautiful art photo image of Two Trees looking out toward the Channel Islands by artist Michael Hewes is one of our supporters' favorites. This art photo, as well as the Two Trees logo on our t-shirts and tote bags, are active reminders that some things are worth preserving. (And, of course, our tote bags also aid in reducing the environmentally wasteful practice of using plastic and paper grocery bags.) We will soon be set up to sell our products over this website. Until then, look at the community events section on our home page and locate the next event where we will be selling items.

Thank you for your interest in VCHP. We thank you for your continued support in helping preserve Ventura's remarkable hillsides and open space areas. Come by and see us at our next scheduled event and just say "Hello"!


Diane Underhill
President VCHP

Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation
Ventura, CA 93003

(805) 665-3820

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