Debate to be held on two competing open space measures

Voters can learn about two competing countywide land-use measures on the ballot in November—Save Open-Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR) and SUSTAIN VC. One representative from each measure will explain how each will affect Ventura County’s General Plan land use designations, goals and policies for open space, and agricultural and rural lands in unincorporated areas.

The event, hosted by the Ventura County Bar’s Natural Resources Section, will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m., Aug 24 at the Ventura County Bar Association, 4475 Market St., Suite B. Tickets are $30 for section members and $40 for non-members and the public. Lunch will be provided.

Both initiatives relate to land-use decisions that are critically important to the County. Agricultural lands comprise more than 200,000 acres—or 18%—of total County lands. Both initiatives claim to protect agriculture and open space, as well as the environment and the economic viability of agricultural land.

Richard Francis, former mayor of Ventura and longtime litigator in Ventura County, will discuss the SOAR initiative, which if passed would extend the existing law to 2050. Mr. Francis was a key figure in passing the original SOAR measure, which regulates agricultural development. At the event he will explain how the updated SOAR measure will impact the county.

Lynn Jensen is executive director of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business Ventura County (CoLab VC). CoLab has been a consultant to the farmers who wrote the SUSTAIN VC ballot measure, as an alternative to the SOAR measure. The SUSTAIN VC measure will also require a public vote for changes in urban limit lines while updating agricultural policies in the County’s General Plan to sustain agriculture through 2036.

To register, visit www.vcba.org/calendar, email bar@vcba.com or call  650-7599.

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