Browsing articles in "News & Updates"

Camarillo City Water Drought Forum

Oct 2, 2015   //   by CSGadmin   //   News & Updates  //  No Comments

 

This Community Forum will not be broadcast or recorded, so be sure to attend!

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The City Clerk has confirmed that the Community Forum on Water will not be broadcast on Channel 10nor recorded for posting on the Camarillo website.

 YOU CAN HEAR THE CITY’S PLANS
FOR OUR WATER SUPPLY

 This coming Monday, 10/5

7:00 pm

AT THE CAMARILLO LIBRARY

We look forward to seeing you there!

Anybody able to record and post for those who can’t attend?

Thank-you!

“THE PEOPLE ARE THE CITY”

 

 

It Wasn’t Pretty, however…

Aug 28, 2015   //   by CSGadmin   //   News & Updates  //  No Comments

Mission Accomplished – to a certain degree.

On August 26th the City Council got an ear full…

about the drought, deelopment, and “will-serve” (new water hook-up) letters

Thanks to all those who attended the Wednesday, 8/26/15, City Council meeting!

After a dozen speakers and about 40 minutes of “interesting interaction” with the City Council…Bruce Feng, Camarillo City Manager, announced that their goal was, “Zero impacts on current customers from new hookups” and that there would be more information forthcoming in September or October.

Somehow and maybe, water impacts will be zero, but more traffic will be coming!  The City Council took this opportunity to approve yet another 129 town home project, the Comstock/Mission Oaks Town Homes.  This is adjacent to the Santa Rosa exit/off-ramp, so it will be one of the first things that you see coming into Camarillo.

Water and traffic are issues that concern and affect us all.

As shown, in the visual below,  the Oxnard and the Pleasant Valley groundwater basins are “critically over-drafted” basins:

August2015_Agenda_Item_9_Attach_4_Map_COD_basins

 

40% of Camarillo’s water comes from this critically over-drafted Pleasant Valley basin.  This is why it is important that we, as a region, should be concerned and informed about pending new development.

City Council emailcouncil@cityofcamarillo.org

Bill Little

Mike Morgan

Charlotte Craven

Kevin Kildee

Jan McDonald

 

 

“THE PEOPLE ARE THE CITY”!

Drought / Construction or Conservation?

Aug 9, 2015   //   by CSGadmin   //   News & Updates  //  No Comments

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2015-08-07 / Letters

Council must heed citizens

I attended the City Council Meeting on July 22 where there was a public hearing to consider an urgency ordinance amending water conservation measures because of the drought.

This agenda item took about four hours to complete, and there were 13 developers and their lawyers at this hearing. They pleaded with the City Council not to approve this ordinance.

For me, sitting for four hours was an education. It confirmed for me the power of developers and their lawyers with our city.

As all of us drive through the traffic close to the Springville development, we ask ourselves, “What did the City Council have in mind when they approved this horrific development?”

Who could they have been listening to? It surely was not the residents of Camarillo.

Most of the developers and lawyers who attended this meeting are involved with the Springville development.

Now, with the drought, the city has to take a stand and approve an ordinance that limits more units, including the hundreds planned in Springville as long as there are drought conditions.

Will they listen to the residents or will they be pushed around by developers again?

Please attend the Camarillo City Council meeting on Wed., Aug. 26 to let the council know we are not going to take it anymore.

Harold Hyman Camarillo


 

Time to halt new development

At the last Camarillo City Council meeting, city staff reported that over 1,600 new housing units are in the pipeline to receive water will-serve letters.

With that new development, Camarillo’s overall water usage is projected to increase 10 percent. Even with a 23 percent conservation reduction achieved by Camarillo residents, this 10 percent increase will mean we do not meet our state-mandated goals for water reduction.

Issuing water will-serve letters to new development will result in greater water restrictions and increased water rates for Camarillo residents.

“Further water reduction measures and severe fines could be imposed by the state if goals aren’t met by next year,” Tom Fox, Camarillo public works director, said at the meeting.

He reports that our community is already losing two trees per week, and with increased water restrictions we would lose a “large percentage” of our urban forest.

Now in a stage 2 water shortage, Camarillo could move to stage 3. Yet the City Council delayed action, directing staff to “work with the developers.”

Working with developers is not fair to the community, and betting on a wet winter is not good policy.

Even when it does rain, most of will run off to the sea. Rain will not make a difference to Wells A and B (two of four city groundwater wells) being impacted by salinity issues.

Gambling on a proposed $50-million desalter pumping from a constrained pool of groundwater good for maybe 25 years will only leave us high and dry in the long run.

Camarillo needs a long-term, sustainable water management plan with input from all stakeholders. The Camarillo Citizens Advisory Board should be included in these discussions. “The people are the city” and we are the ones making the effort to conserve.

We should be the ones being heard.

Merrill Berge Camarillo

 

 

If developers get water, residents get hosed with more restrictions and higher rates, City Council to decide

Jul 27, 2015   //   by CSGadmin   //   News & Updates  //  No Comments

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 10.55.54 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developers win water battle for now

■Camarillo won’t restrict meter access

By Michele Willer-Allred

Special to The Star

The Camarillo City Council backed away from an ordinance change that would have restricted water service to developments underway in the city.

Faced with state imposed water reductions, Camarillo proposed an urgency ordinance that would curb issuance of “will- serve” letters, which allow developers to obtain city water meters for completed projects. The city would resume providing the letters when the state lifts the mandatory cutbacks, the ordinance reads.

But developers told the council Wednesday that approval would stop in midstream numerous city development projects they’ve already invested millions of dollars to complete.

“Really, what we were looking for tonight was a decision to buy some time without any will serve letters issued to decide what the best way to handle this,” said Tom Fox, the city’s public works director.

After several unsuccessful attempts to pass some kind of ordinance during Wednesday’s nearly four hour meeting, the council agreed the city would continue to work with developers and the community on ideas to meet water-conservation goals and bring back the issue at a September meeting.

Developers and construction advocates said not enough time was given before the water ordinance went in front of the council. Councilman Kevin Kildee said the governor’s order to cut water use didn’t give the city time.

Councilwoman Jan Mc-Donald said current water customers and residents need to be heard, too.

The city was ordered by the state in May to reduce water use by 20 percent of its 2013 levels within the city’s water service area, which includes about two thirds of the community.

Tracking began in June, and water usage that month was 23 percent lower than it was for that month in 2013.

For all of 2015, however, the average reduction has only been 16 percent.

“If we continue on a trend with that average, we will not meet the water standard that has been imposed upon us,” Fox said.

“Therefore, while the city has made progress towards compliance, the demands of pending new customers will likely prevent the city from achieving compliance.”

Fox said further water reduction measures and severe fines could be imposed by the state if goals aren’t met by next year.

The public works director said the city also may need to move from its current Stage 2 water shortage level to Stage 3 or higher and could face a significant loss to its urban forest.

About 260 residential units and 40,000 square feet of commercial development are under construction and have will-serve letters, which will increase water demand to about 1.5 percent above the 2013 baseline.

About 1,400 residential units and a million square feet of commercial industrial development projects do not have will serve letters. Fox said if those projects were completed and connected to the city’s water system, they would increase water demand by 9 percent to 10 percent over 2013 levels and require “significantly greater” water restrictions on current customers.

“If there was a way for sure we knew it would rain this winter, then we’d probably be in front of you with a different strategy. But we do have a current water-supply issue that if we don’t have rain this winter is going to get exacerbated,” Fox said.

Several developers said they already have invested millions of dollars to move their projects forward and that the city would be initiating a building moratorium in the city under the guise of a water conservation ordinance if it were approved.

“We don’t know any municipality anywhere that has taken on this very drastic decision and approach,” said Arturo Sneider, CEO and cofounder of Primestor Development Inc.

Representatives from Fairfield Residential, developer for the Village Gateway project in Camarillo, said they wanted to see their project exempt because significant grading has been done and the ordinance could create financing issues for their $150 million project.

“To say we’re going to shut down an industry because two years from now we may still be in a drought is just not acceptable, at least to me,” Mayor Bill Little said.

Kildee said the city’s water customers already have cut their water usage significantly and he wasn’t in support of anything that would put customers at an even higher tier rate in the future.

Fox said city officials hope to meet with developers and the community before the September meeting on the issue.

A progress report will be given to the council next month.

“I think it’s important to do it right and take the time that’s needed,” Fox said, “but understanding that time is of the essence and we need to bring this back as soon as possible.”

 

Land Use and Development Input Opportunities

Jan 9, 2015   //   by CSGadmin   //   News & Updates  //  No Comments

a88fcc46-d449-4ae3-9fbf-8a744f7bd21d   HELP GUIDE YOUR CITY

Two requests for your input:

  • St. John’s Seminary Project meeting, Jan 13, 2015
  • Camarillo Land Use Advisory Committee

              Link for more information

Talking Points for Recirculated DEIR

Aug 26, 2014   //   by CSGadmin   //   News & Updates  //  No Comments

 

RECIRCULATED CONEJO CREEK DEIR OVERVIEW

 

Link on the City of Camarillo website to the recirculated sections of the Conejo Creek Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)  http://www.ci.camarillo.ca.us/docs/Conejo%20Creek%20Specific%20Plan%20Recirculated%20Draft%20EIR.pdf

 

The recirculated sections include:

~ Project Description

~ Agricultural Resources

~ Biological Resources

~ Cultural Resources

~ Hydrology and Water Quality

~ Land Use and Planning

~ Noise

~ Transportation and Circulation

 

The following are “highlights” of each section:

 

 Project Description – The overall plan area has been increased from 740 acres to 895 acres to include 2 more parcels of land; an “unnamed parcel” and the Midnight Sun parcel owned by UBS Agri-Vest. These are needed for the football field wide flood control bypass channel that would be dredged for 2 miles through the project.  In 2009, UBS Agri-Vest, the owners of the Midnight Sun parcel, submitted a letter to the City stating that they did not want to be included in the Project Specific Plan or the Environmental Impact Review. The issue of this property has still not been resolved, as stated on page 2-9:

It is acknowledged that the participation of the owner or formal acquisition of the necessary area of the Midnight Sun property to accommodate the proposed improvements would be necessary to carry out the totality of the proposed flood control improvements. Prior to future construction of the bypass channel on a portion of the Midnight Sun parcel, the rights must be obtained from the landowner. The rights could potentially be obtained by the establishment of some form of purchase agreement or via the use of eminent domain.

 

Agricultural Resources – the project’s 895 acres of “farmland of statewide importance” would be converted to 2,500 residential units and over 100 acres of industrial development.  In lieu of this prime productive agricultural land, the project developers are proposing community gardens, space in the yards for gardens, a Farmer’s Market, a CSA pick-up site and a community kitchen.  Page 4.2-15

 

Biological Resources/Wildlife corridor – The Conejo Creek is rich with fish, birds, frogs, plants and trees. The creek has a year-round flow from the Thousand Oaks Hill Canyon Treatment plant that attracts wildlife and sustains vegetation for habitats and protection.  The Calleguas and Conejo Creek offer a “lifeline” corridor from the coastal parklands to the inland open spaces of Santa Rosa Valley and the Simi Hills. The Conejo Creek at the 101 Freeway is the only “open” undeveloped undercrossing left in West Ventura County.

 

The Conejo Creek development would require that the creek be “channelized” with cement revetment from the 101 Freeway to Ridgeview St.  There would be a 385 multi-family residential complex sited adjacent to this portion of the creek (next to the 101 Freeway at the bottom of the Grade) and a 2-story commercial development on the other side.  Lights, noise, people and pets would replace open farmland, and cement revetment would replace vegetation…further isolating wildlife in limited gene-pools on either side of the 101 freeway.

 

Page 4.4-44 states:

Construction of proposed recreational trails along the bypass channel, as well as conversion of agricultural lands into residential, commercial, and other public uses would result in increased presence of humans and domestic animals within and adjacent to the creeks. Increased light spillover impacts from the construction of athletic field or trail lighting, noise, and presence of non-native invasive plant species may also discourage use of the creeks or other adjacent native habitat areas for wildlife movement.

Cultural Resources – Page 4.15-12 lists 30 existing structures within the Project Area that could be considered “City Landmarks” for their role in the agricultural heritage of this area.  Why are the buildings eligible to be considered “City Landmarks” and worthy of preserving when the agricultural land itself is not?

 

Hydrology and Water Quality – Figure 4.9-1 illustrates the Calleguas Creek Watershed.  The Calleguas Creek drainage begins in Simi Valley and runs through Moorpark, Somis and Mission Oaks.  The separate Conejo Creek drainage starts in the Tierra Rejada Valley of Moorpark and runs the length of Santa Rosa Valley.

 

The Conejo Creek development project sits at the confluence of these 2 separate watershed drainage systems.  It will be bound on 3 sides by these 2 creeks, which are considered “floodways” for their drainage areas.

 

In order for this natural occurring floodplain to be developed, a football-field wide bypass channel will be dredged for 2 miles along the perimeter of the development, adjacent to Conejo Creek.  Figure 4.9-6 shows the “bank protection” and “vegetated” segments of the bypass channel.  The “bank protection” will be cement revetment along the banks.

 

On page 2-24 of the Project Description it states:

Design of the bypass channel and other related water conveyance components would provide permanent flood control protection to the Project Area and adjacent developed lands. Bank stabilization and channel protection systems would be constructed of flexible and/or vegetative systems, unless channel velocities and characteristics require rigid systems such as concrete slope paving, soil cement, or grouted stone.

Note the term “unless”.  Now touted as open space and native habitat, this bypass channel’s first obligation is to provide permanent flood control.  With a high-volume flooding occurrence, vegetation would be quickly replaced with cement revetment.  In addition, cement revetment would require less Maintenance and Operation expense. The management of vegetation in this area of fertile soil and a high water table will require extensive funding and oversight…forever. Page 2-25 states

The proposed bypass channel would also require routine maintenance to ensure proper long-term functionality. Routine maintenance would likely include as needed removal of sediment and selective vegetation removal to maintain conveyance capacity of the channel. Sources of funding for this maintenance would likely be provided by a combination of sources, including but not limited to, homeowner’s association dues, property taxes, benefit assessments, and land development fees.

 

This is known as “bait and switch”.  Remember the large public park touted as a community benefit when Village at the Park was built?  Now this park is off limits to residents.  Remember how the newest Outlet area (The Promenade) was sold as a project like “The Lakes” in Thousand Oaks?

 

And even with all the flood control “improvements” Figure 4.9-8 illustrates the flood zones that would continue to surround this project on 3 sides.

 

Land Use and Planning – though this recirculated “Land Use and Planning” element states on page 4.10-23:

As discussed in Section 4.12, Population and Housing, the proposed Specific Plan would facilitate the construction of 2,500 new residential dwelling units, thereby adding to the City of Camarillo housing stock and contributing toward meeting the City’s share of regional housing need.

Our Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA, pronounced ree-na) number is currently 2,224 residential units through 2021.  As of the June Camarillo Dept. of Community Development Monthly report there are 25 projects  “in the works” resulting in 2,407 residential units.  Camarillo is already exceeding it’s RHNA number by 10%.

Also, “as discussed in Section 4.12, Population and Housing” in the original Conejo Creek DEIR it states on page 4.12-6:

 

Housing and Population. Cumulative development under the General Plan, including 5,824 additional residential units and 2.98 million square feet of non-residential development, in combination with the proposed Specific Plan, would continue to evolve the demographic character of the area. Based on the current average number of persons per household in the City (approximately 2.645 persons per household), cumulative development and the proposed Specific Plan would increase the City’s population by approximately 22,017 people beyond existing population (65,201). The current population of the City is within SCAG projections through 2010 and the increase in population of approximately 22,017 associated with both cumulative buildout combined with the proposed Specific Plan would exceed SCAG 2030 projections by 8,907 persons. Cumulative development without the proposed Specific Plan would still exceed SCAG growth forecasts in 2030 by 2,323 persons. Thus, the Specific Plan would contribute to this exceedance. Therefore, the proposed Specific Plan’s contribution to population impacts would be cumulatively considerable.

 

Noise – on page 4.11-4 the City’s standards for exterior noise for Zone II residential are noted as being 55 dBA (decibels) from 7 am to 9 pm and 45 dBA at night from 9 pm to 7 am.

On page 4.11-14 is a table entitled “Noise Level Exposure of Future Land Uses within the Project Area”.  Of the 11 residential areas studied, 10 exceed 60 dBA. The school area is 66 dBA.

Moreover, it is estimated that the future proposed school along Calle Quetzal would be exposed to noise levels in excess of 66 dBA. As discussed in the Setting, Policy 2 in the City’s Noise Element states that lower noise should be sought near  “areas of greater noise sensitivity” such as schools. Considering both exterior and interior noise levels that future receptors in the Project Area would experience, impacts would be potentially significant.

And not only within the Conejo Creek project. The surrounding areas would be impacted by this cumulative traffic noise.  Table 4.11-9 “Traffic Noise Impacts from Cumulative Development” illustrates this impact.  26 road segments in the surrounding the project area are listed; 24 of them are above 65 dBA, most are in the 70+ dBA range.

On page 4.11-22 it states: Nonetheless, because the Specific Plan would significantly increase noise along eight roadway segments in the project vicinity upon buildout, cumulative noise impacts would be considerable.

Transportation and CirculationThe proximity of the development to the Conejo Grade will impact us all.  The 101 Freeway is our County’s only high-capacity North/South transportation “mainline”.  The Conejo Grade is a critical bottleneck in this segment of our transportation system.  There are no viable alternate routes around the Conejo Grade except 2 lane roads through rural neighborhoods and agricultural land (such as Santa Rosa Rd and Potrero Rd).x

The recirculated Conejo Creek Draft Environmental Impact Report’s “Transportation and Circulation” element provides us with facts and figures to consider.  The Conejo Creek development would generate 41,000 vehicle trips daily.  20% are projected to travel south on the 101 Freeway.  26% are projected to travel north on the 101 Freeway from the Pleasant Valley interchange.   Currently the Conejo Grade carries 131,000 average daily trips (ADT).  By 2030 (16 years from now) the cumulative area traffic combined with the Conejo Creek development vehicle trips are projected to result in 186,000 car trips on the Conejo Grade.  A 42% increase in traffic on the Conejo Grade.

 

There are no 101 Freeway improvements planned for the Conejo Grade, or the “short, sharp, steep” Camarillo Springs on-off ramps. There is a dedicated 4th northbound lane proposed from the Conejo Creek bridge to the Springville interchange.  However, even with this 4th northbound lane, the 101 Freeway segment “east of Camarillo Springs” (in other words coming down the Grade) would be the worst Level of Service “F”.  And the segment of the 101 Freeway “west of Lewis” (between the Lewis Rd. and the Carmen Dr. interchange) would also be a worst Level of Service “F” in the middle of the Camarillo corridor.

 

As if that isn’t bad enough. This northbound lane would terminate at the Springville interchange.  The Springville development of 1335 residential units will generate 21,000 vehicle trips daily at build-out.  Springville was approved by the Camarillo City Council in 2008.  The 400 acre Sakioka Farms Business Park, between Del Norte and Rice along the west side of the 101 Freeway, was approved by the Oxnard City Council in June 2012. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) projected it would generate 78,500 vehicle trips daily.

 

Under “Cumulative Baseline Conditions” the recirculated Conejo Creek DEIR states on page 4.15-8: The traffic forecast data were derived from the Camarillo Traffic Analysis Model (CTAM), a sub-area derivation of the Ventura Countywide Traffic Model (VCTM) prepared and maintained by the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC). The CTAM was updated in 2010 based on the latest VCTM projections and the latest land use projections and roadway improvement plans for the City of Camarillo and the surrounding region.

 

The question then becomes, were the 78,500 vehicle trips projected to be generated by the Sakioka Farms Business Park included in the modeling and analysis of The Conejo Creek Specific Plan Traffic Study done by Austin-Foust in 2011? It must be assumed they were not…but who knows, the reference “Traffic and Circulation Technical Reports” does not list the projects used for the cumulative traffic figures.

 

One wonders if the Wagon Wheel 1,500 residential unit development was included in the cumulative traffic figures?  This project, along with the 400 acre Sakioka Farms Business Park, and the Camarillo Springville development of 1335 residential units and 340 acres of retail and commercial development have all been approved to proceed. All are located along the 101 Freeway. All will generate tens of thousands of vehicle trips each. None of which have hit our streets and the 101 Freeway…yet.

 

 

FORUM – Defending our Military Community and Economy

Apr 8, 2014   //   by CSGadmin   //   News & Updates  //  No Comments

ACORN

April 4, 2014

Forum addresses base closure process

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell’s office (R-Camarillo) will host a community forum on the Base Realignment and Closure process from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Fri., April 25 in the Grand Salon at Cal State Channel Islands.

Titled “Ventura County and BRAC: Defending our Military Community and Economy,” the forum is to address the increased probability that the federal government will conduct another round of military base closures by 2017.

An integral part of the regional economy with more than 19,000 direct jobs, Naval Base Ventura County is the single largest employer in the county,

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Howard P. “Buck” McKeon will be the keynote speaker. Rear Admiral Benjamin Montoya, USN (ret), a presidential appointee to the 1995 BRAC commission, and Bill Buratto, president of the Ventura County Economic Development Association, will be panelists.

The forum will address the history of BRAC; potential economic effects on Ventura County, the U.S. “Pivot to the Pacific” strategic evolution, likely criteria to be used by a future BRAC, and how the community can organize and defend against possible closure or consolidation of Naval Base Ventura County.

 

The Price of Paradise

Apr 8, 2014   //   by CSGadmin   //   News & Updates  //  No Comments

Untitled

 

Air Force Capt. Jonathan Martel, 4th Fighter Squadron, pilots an F-16 Fighting Falcon on final approach to Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu in January to participate in the Marine Corps’ Integrated Training Exercise. 

 

 

 

AIR FORCE PHOTO BY STAFF SGT. TIM CHACON

 

By Mike Harris

mharris@vcstar.com 805-437-0323

As population grows, Navy seeks to protect space for base

GeneGene Fisher, co-chairman of RDP-21, a Naval Base Ventura County support group, says the proposed Conejo Creek development could cause potential issues for Naval Base Ventura County.

The roots of Naval Base Ventura County date back to the United States’ entrance into World War II in 1941, when the population of the county was about 70,000.

In the 73 years since, the population has grown to about 840,000, and the base’s neighboring cities of Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo have built up.

That’s a pattern the U.S. military has seen at installations across the country for decades –     one that has produced increased land use conflicts between base operations and nearby civilian communities.

To prevent or alleviate such conflicts, the Department of Defense has funded exhaustive analyses called joint land-use studies at more than 100 military bases nationwide since 1985. The advisory studies produce recommendations frequently enacted by the various parties.

Now it’s Naval Base Ventura County’s turn. The installation, which includes facilities at Point Mugu, Port Hueneme, San Nicolas Island and a 36,000-square-mile Pacific Ocean test range, applied for and was selected by the Defense Department for its own advisory study. The analysis began last year and looks to wrap up this summer.

It gives equal weight to the base’s concerns and those of neighboring residents, said Steve DeGeorge, Ventura County Transportation Commission planning director.

“The purpose of the study is really twofold,” he said. “It’s to ensure the long-term viability of the naval base to make sure they can continue to do their mission, while at the same time protecting the surrounding communities.”

In its role as the county’s airport land-use agency, the commission is the study’s project manager. It has hired the Sacramento office of Colorado-based consultant Matrix Design Group to oversee it. Matrix has conducted about 25 of the studies across the nation.

Study participants include the base, the county, surrounding cities, and environmental and agricultural groups. Two public workshops have been held, in Camarillo and Oxnard, and two or three more are planned, although no dates have been set.

The base and its supporters are primarily concerned about encroachment. They don’t want new residential developments infringing on the base and compromising its mission.

The potential for large new developments is greater near the Point Mugu installation, which borders undeveloped, unincorporated county land. The Port Hueneme facility adjoins largely developed Port Hueneme and Oxnard.

A new development under or near the base’s flight paths, such as the proposed Conejo Creek project in Camarillo, could result in noise complaints from residents, which in turn could lead to the base curtailing flight hours, base supporters say.

Other civilian concerns include communication between the base and surrounding communities, and protecting the wetlands at Ormond Beach north of Point Mugu.

‘VERY ONE-SIDED THING’

The origins of Naval Base Ventura County can be traced back to when Point Mugu became a training area for Seabees stationed at Port Hueneme as the United States entered World War II in 1941. In 1949, the Naval Air Station at Point Mugu was permanently established to support the U.S. Naval Air Missile Test Center.

The base’s name was established in 2000, when the 4,490-acre Point Mugu facility was consolidated with the 1,615-acre Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme 7 miles away. The San Nicolas Island installation, 60 miles off the coast, became part of the base in 2004.

The base is Ventura County’s largest employer with 17,307 military, civilian and contractor personnel. It has an estimated $1.9 billion annual economic impact on the county.

While DeGeorge said the study does not give a higher priority to the base’s issues, Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn said he is almost exclusively concerned about protecting the installation from encroach ment.

“To me, it’s a very onesided thing,” said Flynn, who sits on the study’s policy committee. T he fact is that any project within a certain radius of Point Mugu is encroachment. No ifs, ands or buts about it.”

At least for now, the base is relatively undisturbed, said its community plans and liaison officer, Anna Shepherd.

“A lot of that is communicating with the local jurisdictions about concerns we have,” said Shepherd, a member of the study’s technical/ advisory committee.

She cited an example involving an Oxnard company near the base, San Miguel Produce. The county last year wanted the firm to install strobe lights on its forklifts to alert bystanders when the vehicles were backing up. The base believed such lights would have been incompatible with its airfield safety, she said.

“So we worked with the county, which determined that base safety was more important than a requirement for strobe lights,” she said. “It was a win-win for everyone.”

CONEJO CREEK CONCERNS

CC

 

Land at Pleasant Valley Road near U.S. Highway 101 in Camarillo is the site of a proposed residential development that would lie near a flight path of Naval Base Ventura County.

 

 

 

Another member of the study’s technical/advisory committee is Gene Fisher, co-chairman of RDP-21, a civilian support group for the base. The group has been successful in helping to prevent base encroachment, he said. But there’s some concern that the proposed Conejo Creek development, a plan to build up to 2,500 housing units and 54 acres of office and commercial spaceon a 740-acre site at U.S. Highway 101 and Pleasant Valley Road, could potentially encroach on the Point Mugu facility, he said.
The development would be near the flight path of aircraft approaching the base.

“At some point, residents might be very unhappy with the noise, and then the base might be restricted from being able to fly certain aircraft or certain times of the day,” Fisher said.

The project’s developer, Dennis Hardgrave, of Development Planning Services, said he lives directly under the approach path at Camarillo’s Village at the Park subdivision, and noise from the aircraft “has never been an issue or a concern to anybody that we know who lives there.”

But Shepherd said the majority of noise complaints the base receives come from Camarillo residents who live north of Highway 101.

Environmentalist Janis McCormick, who also sits on the study’s technical/advisory committee, said she is most concerned about preserving the Ormond Beach wetlands.

The base is an ally on that issue, said McCormick, president of the nonprofit Environmental Coalition of Ventura County.

“I think the base has the same concerns we do,” she said. “They also don’t want development that close to the base.”

PROTECTING THE MISSION

DeGeorge said he expects the study’s recommendations to be made in mid- to late summer. It will be up to the various parties to decide whether they will be implemented.

“But often, the Department of Defense has implementation money that follows this,” he said. “So that really helps the cities and agencies to get things i mplemented.”

Matrix Group Vice President Rick Rust, who is overseeing the study, said such recommendations are often implemented.

“That’s because all the parties have been sitting at the same table,” he said. “And they’ve been involved throughout the study’s development, everything from the identification of issues to the alternatives that can be looked at to the final plan.”

Flynn said the study is crucial in protecting the base’s mission.

“People look to the military to definitely say this is encroachment or this is not encroachment,” he said. “And the military avoids that like the plague. That’s why the joint land use study is so important.

“We want to enhance the mission of the military,” he said. “We don’t in any way want to jeopardize it.”

 

 

 

Letters to the Editor – Camarillo Acorn

Apr 8, 2014   //   by CSGadmin   //   News & Updates  //  No Comments

ACORN

 Wants city to slow development 

March 28, 2014

 

This letter is in regard to the March 14 article “Council sets goals for future.”

While there are many worthy objectives noted in the City Council’s 2014-15 goals and objectives, there is a significant difference from last year.

Under the Land Use and Transportation goal for 2013-14 there were four separate objectives. For 2014-15 there are none.

Yet 48 separate development projects are underway for 2014-15.

The community development report for January 2014 lists the following: 24 industrial, commercial and institutional projects totaling 1.5 million square feet of development and 24 residential projects totaling 2,800 housing units.

Our community’s land use and transportation will certainly be impacted by this volume of development.

It will mean more expensive water. Drought conditions have been both extended and severe. Our aquifer is being depleted. The wells supplying our drinking water are being affected by salinity. A proposed desalter plant costing $50 million is decades away.

This volume of development will make traffic worse. Already jammed, our 101 Freeway corridor is projected to be the worst level of service, “F,” within 15 years.

Why then are over 2,800 housing units “in the pipeline” and another 2,500 proposed when our community is facing such critical, long-term issues?

Why has the city hired two more planners in order for these projects to proceed sooner, rather than later?

Why and for what “community benefit” has the City Council authorized this volume of development at this point in time?

Camarillo Sustainable Growth has requested an explanation.

The residents of Camarillo deserve an answer.

-Merrill Berge, Camarillo

 

 Wants to show council the door

April 4, 2014

Re: “Wants city to slow development,” March 28.

The Camarillo City Council and staff have done much worse than the writer addresses. Not only have they not listed any goals (such as “Protect green belts”) under “Land Use and Transportation” for this year, over the past few years they have been systematically dismantling any language in the General Plan and its land use elements that might protect our quality of life and/or be restrictive or hinder any development.

Key words have been dropped, language revised and sections eliminated. It all seems to be part of a pattern—clear the way for yet more development.

I guess some people like that. The City Council has loudly patted itself on the back over all the development that they have already authorized, and which is waiting in the wings to begin construction.

Soon they will be considering adding to that a zoning change for the ag land and approval of the associated Conejo Creek project. I, for one, don’t think that’s a good thing. Do you?

The 101 is jammed right now. There are no effective mitigations available for that. Adding a lot more homes to the area is not going to help. Putting houses and industrial buildings on top of ag land will not make the city a more beautiful place. Encouraging developers to encroach into the Military Influence Area around the naval base will not win friends with the county’s largest employer. This has got to stop.

There is an election in November. Either incumbents need to have a dramatic change of heart, and say so publicly, or we need some new faces on the City Council. It’s time for a change. Tell others.

-Tad Dougherty, Camarillo

 

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