Project Description

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Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On page 2-9 it states:
“It should be noted that although Assessor Parcel Number 234-0-060-025 is not included within the Specific Plan area, a portion of the work associated with the proposed flood control improvements along Conejo Creek would occur on this parcel. It is acknowledged that the participation of the owner or acquisition of the necessary area of this property to accommodate the proposed improvements would be necessary to carry out the totality of the proposed flood control improvements.”

In fact, this “portion of the work associated with the proposed flood control improvement” is fully one-half of the 2 mile long bypass channel needed to “lift” this area out of the floodplain.

However, in response to a Notice of Preparation regarding this Conejo Creek Environmental Impact report, a comment letter was received Nov. 10,2009 from UBS AgriVest, the investment manager and advisor for the landowners of this parcel, Midnight Sun, Inc.

In the Notice of Preparation response letter it was specifically stated that this parcel not be included in the Initial Plan area and not be included in the Environmental Impact Report.

How can this Environmental Impact Report be considered complete and comprehensive when this critical portion of the bypass channel is not being included within the Plan Area and not being evaluated in this Environmental Impact Report?

 Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On page 2-10 it states that the Conejo Creek development would…
“Avoid leapfrog development and accommodate projected growth in a location
adjacent to existing infrastructure, urban services, existing circulation elements,
and community facilities.”

In fact, the Conejo Creek development would wrap around the curve at Pleasant Valley Rd and extend down Pancho Rd. and include 300 acres of unincorporated farmland. Though within the CURB line, this 300 acre parcel would need to be annexed into the City of Camarillo and would signficantly expand our present city limits.

Currently there are minimal infrastructure, urban services and community facilities on this farmland.

In addition, this extension of land abuts the critically important Oxnard Plain agricultural lands running along the south side of Pleasant Valley Rd.  It is imperative that the Conejo Creek project is not approved to avoid this “leapfrog” threat to our local ag land.

In addition, this would further breach the Military Influence Area encroachment buffer zone of the Ventura County Naval Base. We need to respect the needs and work to protect the Naval Base, our County’s number one employer.

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On Page 2-11 it states:
“Cluster higher density residential neighborhoods near existing and proposed
places of employment and proposed retail services to reduce dependence on
automobiles, reduce total vehicle trips, and maximize open space areas.”

But in fact, the problem with this Conejo Creek development is that it clusters a very large dense residential neighborhood in an area far from local community services. 1,445 of the 2,500 housing units will be multi-family residences on a total of 98 acres.

It will add 41,000 daily car trips to our area, especially in the all ready congested Mission Oaks/Santa Rosa Rd. area and along the Pleasant Valley/Santa Rosa Rd/101 Freeway corridor through Camarillo to Las Posas Rd.

These residents will have to get in their cars and “hit” the 101 Freeway or our arterial streets to go to the Post Office, the bank, Home Depot, Trader Joes or a full-service grocery store. It will certainly not reduce dependence on automobiles.

It will only increase the traffic congestion on our major city arterials and on our only major North/South transportation corridor, the 101 freeway.

 

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On page 2-11 the Housing Goal states:
Fully comply with the Camarillo Housing Element, by providing for affordable
multi-family residences within the planning area.”

The Table 2-3 Specific Plan Buildout Summary on page 2-12 illustrates that there will be 1,445 medium density homes on 98.3 acres of housing.  This translates into 14.7 units per acre.

Springville, which as you know has been approved for the new interchange area…but has yet to be built…will have a total of 1325 residences on 76.5 acres of housing, which equals 17.32 units/acre.

It seems we are doing more than our fair share in providing affordable multi-family housing.

The Conejo Creek and Springville medium and high density housing combined would add over 2,570 homes to our community, on a total of only 165 acres.

Camarillo is now a single-family home community with “room to move”…with this kind of dense development, what are we becoming?

 

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On page 2-11 the Circulation Goal states:
“Provide circulation improvements consistent with the Circulation Element to
support the planned development.

The only circulation improvements planned to support this development are “auxiliary” or “weave” lanes on the 101 Freeway. These are not additional lanes, these are only portions of lanes connecting the on ramps with the next off ramp between Santa Rosa and Flynn, between Lewis and Carmen, between Carmen and Las Posas.

In addition, there are absolutely no improvements planned for the short, sharp, steep Camarillo Springs on-off ramps on the curve at the bottom of the Conejo Grade.

Instead the Conejo Creek development will add 41,000 more cars to our roads every day and leave us stewing in fumes while sitting stuck in traffic!

 

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On page 2-12 in the Public Service and Facilities Policies it states:
“Potable water to be provide by Camrosa Water District.”

This Spring, Camrosa Water District approved a Permanent Moratorium on Imported Water.
They are trying to responsibly decrease this area’s dependence on imported water. Our reliance on expensive Metropolitan Water District supplies, which are predicted to double by the year 2020, will mean higher water rates for us all.

The Conejo Creek Specific Plan of 2,500 homes and 1,300,000 square feet of industrial area, if approved, would require Camrosa Water District to increase their imported water supplies.

As a community, we should respect their Permanent Moratorium. They are taking responsible action now to confront the challenges of water in the future. We should not act irresponsibly and approve this Conejo Creek development.

 

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On page 2-12 The Open Space Policies state:
“Provide creek improvements while preserving natural vegetation and wildlife
habitats.”

In reality, creek improvements will be all about flood control.
As it states later on page 2-21:
Design of the bypass channel and other related water conveyance
components (meaning creeks) would provide permanent flood control protection to the plan 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.”

In other words, the minute we see real flooding in the future, these “natural open spaces” could become concrete channels.

This Conejo Creek development will in the end still be surrounded on 3 sides, by 2 creeks, draining 2 large watershed area. Once 2,500 homes and 100+ acres of industrial development are built on this natural occurring flood plain, we will be trying to protect this area from flooding forever.

In addition, bypass channels filled with natural vegetation and wildlife habitats will be challenging and expensive to maintain and operate.

Instead, let this farmland floodplain remain in place and let’s protect the Sanitation Facility with a levee that is already designed and already being funded with $2/month from our sanitation fees. We will more immediately protect our Sanitation Facility from flooding and keep our fertile farmland and free flowing creeks.

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR
Section 2.0 Project Description
on page 2-12
in the Public Service and Facilities Policies it states:
“Potable water to be provide by Camrosa Water District.”

This Spring, Camrosa Water District approved a Permanent Moratorium on Imported Water.
They are trying to responsibly decrease this area’s dependence on imported water. Our reliance on expensive Metropolitan Water District supplies, which are predicted to double by the year 2020, will mean higher water rates for us all.

The Conejo Creek Specific Plan of 2,500 homes and 1,300,000 square feet of industrial area, if approved, would require Camrosa Water District to increase their imported water supplies. As a community, we should respect their Permanent Moratorium. They are taking responsible action now to confront the challenges of water in the future. We should not act irresponsibly and approve this Conejo Creek development.

 

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On page 2-14 The Proposed Circulation Plan states:
“Pleasant Valley Road is currently a Four-Lane Primary Arterial road. It consists of four 12-foot travel lanes (two in each direction), with a right-of-way width of approximately 144 to 162 feet and a curb-to-curb pavement width of 86 to 98 feet, with controlled access and restricted parking. Pleasant Valley Road is proposed to be widened to six lanes easterly of Pancho Road.”

This 6 lane road would run along the Woodside Greens neighborhood between Pancho and the 101 freeway. This would be the first and only stretch of 6 lane road in the City of Camarillo.

It goes on to say:
A six foot earthen berm is proposed on the northbound side of Pleasant Valley Road, adjacent to the Specific Plan area, for visual screening and noise reduction purposes.”

When they say “northbound” is this a berm along the Woodside Greens neighborhood?
Or is this a berm “adjacent to the Specific Plan area”?

Shouldn’t there then be berms on both sides for “visual screening and noise reduction purposes”?

These berms will be in addition to the major project berm along the 101 freeway as seen in Figure 4.1-4 “View along the U.S. 101 Southbound”.

These berms will be in addition to the now existing berm at Village at the Park.

AND, these will be in addition to the berm planned along the 101 Freeway for the Springville development.

Camarillo is now known for farmland, open space and family homes.

Are we becoming just another community of berms and buildings instead?

 

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On Page 2-19 the 2.4.4 Proposed Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan states:
“Within the Specific Plan area, a combination of bike lanes and an 8-foot wide asphalt bike path along the U.S. 101 landscape berm would create a five-mile perimeter “loop trail.” Set within a 30- to 100- foot wide greenbelt area, the multi-use trail would provide direct connection to the existing and proposed Calleguas Creek trail.”

This description does not mention, nor document, the promised bike trail to CSUCI that Dennis Hardgrave, of Development Planning Services and the representative for the Project Applicants, touts as a community benefit of this project.

Fortunately that is not really an issue, as the bike trail to CSUCI is already part of the Ventura County Transportation bikepath plan going forward.

This 2,500 development does not extend Camarillo’s bike trail system significantly, nor include a guaranteed bikepath plan to connect to CSUCI.

It does however, add 41,000 car trips to our roads.

 

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On Page 2-20
“The lake-front mixed-use area would contain architectural references consistent with the City of Camarillo Heritage Zone and provide for larger two-story buildings between the lake and U.S. 101 to serve as a sound barrier to the outdoor uses on the lake.”

Contrast this description with picture 4.1-4 entitled “Visual Simulation of View after the Specific Plan Buildout” along U.S. 101 southbound of Pleasant Valley Rd.

This picture shows a beautiful berm along the 101…but does not show the “larger two-story buildings between the lake and U.S. 101″ that would significantly block the view of the Conejo Mountains from a car’s point of view.

The Final EIR must actually simulate what this view would become with the addition of these “larger two-story” commercial/retail buildings on the raised ground level created from dredging the lake.

Our 101 Freeway corridor view is rapidly becoming the same “view” corridor as The Valley.

 

Conejo Creek Specific Plan EIR – Section 2.0 Project Description

On Page 2-20
“The school site is intended to be an elementary school to serve the needs of the plan area at buildout. The identified location was chosen to be accessible to the planning area population and separated from highway and industrial uses.”

But not separated by much! This proposed school site is to be within 1/2 mile of both the 101 Freeway and the combined 3.3 million square foot industrial area.

In the Air Quality section of the Draft EIR it states:
“Based on the South Coast Air Quality Management District Multiple
Air Toxics Exposure Study (MATES-II) report on toxic exposures (March 2000), those
residential areas located adjacent to freeways are already exposed to comparatively high
excess cancer risks.”

This would certainly apply to elementary schools as well…especially with kids running around outside on playgrounds.

In fact, the Air Quality section goes on to say:
“AQ-5 Air Ventilation Specifications. Forced air ventilation with filter screens on
outside air intake ducts shall be provided for any residential units within
500 feet of U.S. 101, such as those within Planning Area 12. Windows and
doors shall be fully weatherproofed with caulking and weather-stripping
that is rated to last at least 20 years.”

This Planning Area 12 is the multi-family housing located between the school site and the 101. If air ventilation systems with screens are being mandated for this neighboring residential area…should the children outside playing on the playground be wearing masks?

In addition, this school site would be within 1/2 mile of the existing industrial area and the proposed expanded industrial area of 100 acres.

Table 4.8-1 in the Hazardous Materials section is the “GeoSearch database search of public lists of sites that generate, store, treat or dispose of hazardous materials or sites for which a release or incident has occurred”. This list runs 3 pages long.

Do we as a community want our schools located near freeways and industrial areas?

Schools are long-term investments. Our children are an even greater long-term investment. We must evaluate the future consequences of the decisions we are making today…especially on those most vulnerable and affected.


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