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November 2002 - Measure A

Measure A: Open 80

Measure A - Open 80 - was a ballot initiative that appeared on the November 2002 ballot in the city of Ventura. It proposed massive residential and commercial development for the hillside area, but it was rejected by 70 percent of the voters.

Measure A was placed on the ballot by three landowners who together own 3,800 of the total 6,000 acres of hillside property. Landowners spent more than $1.3 million to try to convince voters to approve construction of 1,390 houses and 40,000-square-feet of commercial developments in the hills and canyons behind Ventura.

The initiative was vigorously opposed by Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation and a coalition of environmental organizations. Hundreds of volunteers coordinated public forums, rallies, fundraisers, phone banks, radio and newspaper ads, neighborhood meetings, and election mailers. The No on A campaign informed residents about the far-reaching impacts of Measure A for the entire community including more traffic, increased demands on City services, and limitations on the community's ability to build moderately-priced homes elsewhere.

The six proposed neighborhoods would have been located above the existing Hobson Heights neighborhood, in Hall Canyon, next to the Poinsettia Pavilion, on the hillside above Arroyo Verde Park, and in the canyon behind Hidden Valley.

In exchange for the development rights, landowners proposed creating a nonprofit organization to manage 80 percent of the land (including the area around Two Trees) as open space, with that new organization controlling the public's access to hiking trials, etc.

Measure A asked voters to give an irrevocable "green light" to this extensive hillside development before an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was prepared to assess the impacts on traffic, water, erosion, and other vital issues. Voters were asked to give a binding, vested right for the owners to build 1,390 homes regardless of whatever mitigation measures might be required by a future EIR. The plan would have committed the City of Ventura to a binding, 20-year development agreement exempt from the City's Residential Growth Management Program and other programs that govern traffic circulation, zoning, slope stability, housing needs assessment, urban service deficiencies, and other important issues

Thankfully, on Election Day, 23,956 Venturans cast a "no" vote against Measure A. The 10,099 "yes" votes amounted to less than 30 percent of the vote, sending Measure A to defeat! Measure A was voted down in every precinct in the city, sending a clear mandate to city officials that the hills should be spared from development.

To find out more about the six developments proposed by Measure A - click here


Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation
Ventura, CA 93003

(805) 665-3820

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