Vol. 9, No. 4 – November 25 – December 8, 2015 – Opinion/Editorial

•   What still frustrates me is that those in favor of, and against, the Regent 55-unit hillside project appear to not understand that the specific drawings submitted have not been approved by the Planning Commission. And, they will not be approved by the City Council even if the council votes to proceed with the prescreen. Only a very broad and general concept is being approved, not a specific design. Not the lots themselves, not the homes, not the streets, just the idea of 55-homes is being approved.

Since the site development plan is conceptual and for demonstration purposes only, these specific plans will never be built. All of the opposition’s concerns will be addressed in future designs and there will be many opportunities to express one’s views.

If approved to continue, Regent will need to submit many, many, more designs to the city (and citizens) for review, comments and approvals before they can proceed with a development in that general area,  including the input and approval from the Design Review Committee. There’s plenty of  time for comments by the public. Personally speaking, I might have opposition to many parts of the design as it progresses through the analysis stages. I will carefully consider the merits and pitfalls of the new designs and layouts as they are presented.

From the City’s planning personnel:

As this is only Prescreen request, City staff has not conducted a complete analysis of the grading design, including a geotechnical report prepared by the applicant. As part of a formal development application submittal, Community Development and Public Works department staff would further evaluate the amount of areas not compliant with this policy in conjunction with the Citywide Design Guidelines for construction in the Hillsides. However, in staff’s preliminary analysis, the clustering of the proposed development at the lower elevations of the hillside and preserving a majority of the site as open space is worthy of further formal review in the a Specific Plan application that could compensate for a deviation from HMP Grading and Site design Policy 3.  In order to meet the broader intent of goals and policies deviations from specific adopted policies can be considered on a case by case basis. Additionally variances from adopted codes are regularly requested by project applicants and considered by the City typically where the physical characteristics of a particular property present special circumstances and/or make it difficult to comply.”

Ventura’s general economic policy is the following:

“Facilitate the provision of a range of housing types to meet the diverse needs of the community.

Provide high quality housing for current and future residents at all income levels. Promote housing that is developed under modern sustainable community standards.

Encourage the production of housing that meets the needs of all economic segments, including extremely-low, lower, moderate, and above moderate-income households, to achieve a balanced community.

Ensure adequate sites are available for housing executives in order to enhance the City’s ability to attract businesses with higher paying jobs.

Cluster development is encouraged as a means of preserving the natural appearance of the hillside, and maximizing the amount of usable open space.

Units should be sited on lots in such a way that the living areas take advantage of the views afforded by the lot. “

As a reminder, the Nov. 30 City Council meeting will start at 5pm – not the usual 6pm start time – so that the meeting might end before midnight.

Because the specific drawings are not being approved, my recommendation for any would-be speakers is  to not get overly specific, but rather, speak in more general terms.

Input Examples:

I’m opposed to any new development in our hills – state why.

I’m opposed because we don’t need luxury homes – state why we don’t.

I support this project because we need luxury homes- state why.

The huge acreage that will be donated to the Hillside Conservancy is important to the city – state why.

•   Council members Mike Tracy and Christy Weir have been recused from the meeting (they will probably watch from home) because of where they currently live, even though Weir lives outside of the 500 foot required “conflict of interest” zone.

•   Changing topics, I received the letter below from a reader. It appeared that because of the juxtaposition of some text in a recent Breeze article, that we were being very critical of pit-bulls. The article was certainly not meant to be at all critical of the breed. Apologies for the misunderstanding!

Dear Sheldon 

I’m not happy at all about the reference to Pit Bulls on the front page of yesterday’s Ventura Breeze.

Ventura Breeze is the local “Hometown” paper for Ventura. Yesterday’s edition (Vol 9, No 2) right on the front page, makes a statement that reflects very negatively toward Pit Bulls, across the board, and lumps them in the same category as cockroaches and rats!

I find this unacceptable and insensitive, especially on the front page of a newspaper whose editor usually shows a caring attitude toward dogs.

I would appreciate if you would alleviate some of the damage by issuing a statement in support of this breed which is so misaligned with erroneous information and misconceptions of a sweet and wonderful dog.

 Thank you,
Jasmine Casey

Pit bulls make wonderful pets and companions.
Pit bulls make wonderful pets and companions.

 

 

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