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2010 Cañada Larga Campaign
The Sierra Club Joins the Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation To Oppose Annexation of Canada Larga Valley

TOn April 19, 2010, the Ventura City Council was deadlocked on whether to include 800 acres of Canada Larga Valley in the City’s Westside Community Plan boundary area--a step that could lead to the construction of executive houses and other developments in the rural canyon. The Council did agree to a study boundary area that includes about 80 acres of SOAR-protected agricultural land and open space located about four miles north of City limits. The Sierra Club and Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation (VCHP) are opposed to extending the city’s boundaries at both sites and facilitating further sprawl that could impact wildlife habitat and air quality.

Canada Larga Valley is tucked between the Ventura Hillsides and Sulphur Mountain. Its meandering creek, oak woodlands, and open savannahs are a draw for bluebirds, woodpeckers, and hawks. In the past, city planners estimated that more than 1,200 houses could be squeezed into the valley floor and up some canyons. The Canada Larga Valley is currently outside of the city's planning sphere of influence. The issue of including the valley in the planning area or annexing it to the City could return to the Council for consideration in the weeks or months to come.

“Sprawling outward and carving up this picturesque open space for more housing contradicts the growing consensus that we should develop in a sustainable way and in proximity to existing services,” said Diane Underhill, President of VCHP. “Paving over habitats and wildlife corridors causes irrevocable harm.”

During the General Plan process, the Council considered and rejected including the Canada Larga Valley as an area for expansion because it would represent non-contiguous, step-out development and be inconsistent with the Guidelines for Orderly Development. Now, annexing the Canada Larga Valley would contravene the City’s General Plan, approved just five years prior. This type of annexation is frowned upon by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), which has the final say on annexation. Council members who voted against including Canada Larga Valley in the boundary area were Mayor Bill Fulton, Brian Brennan, and Carl Morehouse. Those who voted in favor were Neal Andrews, Christy Weir, and Mike Tracy. Jim Monahan was required to abstain on the vote at this time, but has expressed his support of annexation.

Canada Larga

Coalition to preserve the
Canada Larga Valley
Sierra Club
Surfrider Foundation
Ventura citizens for Hillside Preservation
Wishtoyo Foundation / Ventura Coastkeepers

The above listed organizations are opposed to development in the Valley for a number of key reasons:

• Development in open space and agricultural land outside the city’s existing boundaries contradicts the 2005 General Plan’s objective of focusing first on in-fill development within the City.

• Transferring the land from the County to the City means the city is then responsible for firefighting, police protection, and other service costs in this far-flung location.

• The City’s 2005 General Plan EIR indicated that development in the North Avenue area would generate emissions that would potentially be transported into the Ojai air basin significantly reducing air quality in the Ojai Valley. In 2004, the City of Ojai sent a letter to Ventura officials stating their opposition to development along North Ventura Avenue and Canada Larga due to concerns about air pollution and traffic.

• The area’s remoteness from services, schools, and shopping would also increase traffic trips and air pollutants along Highway 33 and Ventura Avenue.

Potential wildfire, flooding, and mudslide hazards exist in the valley. The area most recently flooded in 2005. Evacuation of residents is difficult due to a single access road.

Introducing a large scale housing development into the valley would permanently deprive wildlife of existing habitat. The area is a significant wildlife corridor with many special-status plants, animals and birds. It’s listed on the Central Coast Birding Trail as one of the top spots in Ventura County to go bird watching. The local chapter of the Audubon Society conducts field trips to Canada Larga and includes the valley as a site for the Christmas Bird Count. A total of 113 species of birds have been counted including owls, golden eagles, white-tailed kites, and hawks which hunt on the open rangeland. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, grosbeaks, and flycatchers can be seen in the trees along Canyon Larga Road.

• The Canada Larga Valley lacks existing infrastructure. It would require a new water system, a new sewer collection system, and expansion of the Ojai Valley Sanitation District Plant.

Canada Larga

Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation is an all-volunteer grassroots group that was organized by community members in November 2000 when plans to build a massive development in the hillsides of Ventura surfaced. The VCHP mission is: To preserve Ventura’s hillsides, open space, Ventura River watershed, and quality of life by actively participating in and influencing the public planning process through public education campaigns as well as supporting like-minded organizations, public officials, political candidates, and ballot measures. For more information, visit www.vchp.org.

Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation is a non-profit 501 (c)(4) and a totally separate entity from the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy which is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) public benefit corporation. VHC is a land trust, and works with landowners, conservation organizations, and government agencies to acquire land or easements for the purpose of permanent protection. Their goals for preservation of the Ventura hillsides and other open space in the Ventura region are focused on acquisition, restoration, and public access. They have acquired three conservation parcels since their founding in 2003.

VCHP encourages Venturans to contact City Council members to voice opposition to annexing or bringing any portion of Canada Larga into our Sphere of Influence which will target the area for development.


Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation
Ventura, CA 93003

(805) 665-3820

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