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2010 Cañada Larga Campaign
Back to the bad old days?

by Mayor Bill Fulton
City Council to Discuss Cañada Larga Annexation

Canada Larga

After more than 3 hours of debate, last week the City Council voted 4-3 to add the floor of the Cañada Larga Valley into the North Avenue Community Plan Area. I voted against this proposal, mostly because I think it will make it far more difficult to accomplish the many important community goals on the Westside and in the North Avenue that we all agree on. Frankly, I am afraid that this vote portends the return of the “bad old days” on land use and development in Ventura.

I was opposed to including Cañada Larga not only because I think homes up there are a bad idea, but because I believe the Cañada Larga issue will be divisive and a huge distraction over the next couple of years as we move forward with the North Avenue/Westside efforts. Here are a few things that will now happen as a result of the vote:
– The environmental impact report for the North Avenue plan, which the City is paying for, will become far more time consuming, complicated, and expensive than before. This will, at the very least, show things down.

– The inevitable lawsuits from environmental groups will become much harder to defend. I think some environmental groups might sue anyway – they don’t like the tentative inclusion of agricultural land and some other parcels along Ventura Avenue – but those lawsuits would be much simpler and easier to resolve if we did not include Cañada Larga in the discussion.

– It will be difficult to get Ventura County to sign off on the inclusion, especially the redevelopment project area. The redevelopment component is important because redevelopment funds from the Brooks/Petrochem project could be used for improvements down on the Avenue. But the County may oppose redevelopment and could even sue us. With Cañada Larga in, it’s much more likely that the County will hold up the redevelopment effort.

– The Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), a county agency that approves boundary changes, could object to the annexation. And if LAFCO doesn’t approve this, then we’ll have to sue them to get it, and I can’t see us winning that lawsuit.

– It’s likely that our local environmentalists will run a ballot measure to make development of Cañada Larga subject to a vote.

There you go: All kinds of costs, delays, lawsuits, and maybe ballot measures that will make it much more difficult –maybe impossible – for us to move forward with all the things we unanimously agree on in revitalizing the Westside and the North Avenue. All those good things we all agree on are being held hostage in order to try to force through a Cañada Larga development that we are deeply divided on and have never in the past allowed to move forward.

In recent years, the city council has worked hard to improve and stimulate growth. We passed our infill-first General Plan in 2005, we eliminated the dysfunctional Residential Growth Management Program, and we cleaned up the development review process. This is real progress.

Do we really want to go back to the bad old days?


Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation
Ventura, CA 93003

(805) 665-3820

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