Vol. 10, No. 2 – October 26 – November 8, 2016 – Opinion/Editorial

CMH and Ventura won the appeal filed against them regarding the CMH parking structure. Photo by John Ferritto
CMH and Ventura won the appeal filed against them regarding the CMH parking structure. Photo by John Ferritto

SheldonPicColor•  I thought that this was a done deal with the decision made last year – by a lower court ruling -turning down a lawsuit brought by Ventura Realty & Investment Co against the City and CMH in the Fall of 2014. Ventura Realty & Investment appealed the court’s decision to the 2nd District Court of Appeal which recently upheld the lower court’s decision regarding the construction of the now completed five-story parking structure. The appeals court agreed that the City followed proper procedure in allowing CMH to construct the structure.

Because the structure has already been completed, I’m not sure what purpose was to be served by any further court action. Seems to me to have just been a nuisance lawsuit.

CMH will pay to maintain the parking structure. They will share the spaces with the City to be used by other businesses in the area.

•  Betsy Chess, Director of Development at the Museum of Ventura County, took me on a tour of the Museum to show me the changes being made at the currently closed facility (the large multi-use room is open for special events). It is planned that the remodel will be completed in January.

We were joined by Eric Howes, Exhibits Design & Curator. Eric showed me photos, and explained the design concepts being implemented.

The design and colors look very promising and will be a great improvement to the Museum. The Museum has held two Community Outreach Forums “We Want to Hear From You!” to better understand what the public would want to see in the Museum.

“While our galleries are being renovated, we have the opportunity to reflect and re-think the Museum of Ventura County’s role in the community. We need your input, because this is your museum!” The final forum will be held on Nov.10, from 5:30-7PM, cohosted by the Mexican Consulate, at 3151 W. 5th in Oxnard.

•  I want to make sure that you understand why I am not voting for Christy Weir (as stated in last issue) to serve another term on the City Council. This is completely based on my belief that we should have term limits and not at all based on the fine contributions that she has made to Ventura while serving on the City Council. I certainly won’t be upset if she is elected to serve another term on the Council.

This is the first time our elections have coincided with national elections, so to show that this was a good decision, please vote.

•  The residents that live in the Pierpont area have been complaining very loudly about the parking and noise generated by the short-term renters. The Pierpont area has always had these problems, but they say that they have been greatly exacerbated by the renters and requested that a moratorium be placed on short term rental permits (less than 30-days) until new rules and regulations can be adopted.

They recently brought this problem to a City Council meeting hoping to get a moratorium approved. But, because of a lack of a quorum the Council could not pass a moratorium even if they decided to such action.

Councilmember Jim Monahan was absent from the meeting. Councilmembers Christy Weir and Cheryl Heitmann recused themselves from acting on the matter. Weir has a second dwelling unit in a different part of the city that she sometimes rents and Heitmann said that there are short term vacation rentals within 500 feet of her home.

In an unusual position, Heitmann appeared as just a resident (not on the dais) and urged the council to further study an ordinance and approve a moratorium soon. She stated that not only is parking an issue, but also the growth in short-term rentals means fewer homes are on the market for long-term renters and those looking to buy, and it affects the character of the Pierpont neighborhood.

Councilmember Mike Tracy said he didn’t feel that the issue was serious enough to support a moratorium now stating that is usually reserved for emergencies. There has been some concern expressed about him also needing to be recused because he is a real estate agent, but our city attorney has determined that this is not a legal conflict.

His motion to further have staff study the fees charged for rentals, the impact of the California Coastal Commission and the impact of all rentals on the City was approved 4-0 by the remaining members. Tracy said he hoped there would be further discussions about this and how other housing-related challenges are managed helping the Council take appropriate action in the future when city staff presents their recommendations. Meetings will be held with residents to help staff with their recommendations. This could take 4-6 months before going back to the Council for further action.

Not all rental owners appearing at the meeting want a moratorium. They urged the Council to maintain the rentals, saying the rentals provide visitors with an opportunity to experience life on a beach and help provide much-needed income so owners can maintain their Pierpont homes.

Of the approximate 120 permitted residential permits in the city, over 70 are in the Pierpont neighborhood.

I agree with the decision to gather more information before the Council takes further permanent action on this matter. This will be a very important judgement that must be based upon more detailed information and input from the community and staff.

•  I can hardly wait until next year to see Trump’s new TV show, “So You Want To Be President”. He says the election is rigged by the liberal media. Does that mean that there hasn’t been a Republican president since Abraham Lincoln? Maybe Scamp is a Republican, so I hope that he accepts the newly elected President.

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