Vol. 10, No. 20 – July 5 – July 18, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

•  At a recent City Council meeting, one of the council members didn’t say a single word during the deliberation of an item to be voted on. When it was his time to vote, he said no without comment, which is his prerogative. This bothers me. I think the citizens, need to know what councilmembers are thinking about items on the agenda if they expect us to vote for them in the future.

•  The Thousand Oaks City Council has taken the first step to possibly allow one medical marijuana dispensary and one marijuana testing facility to open in an industrial part of town. The council directed the city staff to write a proposed amendment to the city’s Municipal Code chapter on marijuana, establishing a regulatory framework for the dispensary and the testing facility.

I think that it is time for our City Council to take a similar action. This could bring in additional tax dollars and keep Venturan’s who really need medical marijuana from leaving the city to obtain it.

“Do you know what Focus Area One is, who the City Council can hire and fire? Tune into KPPQ104.1FM Saturday at 10am to hear my interview with Ventura City Manager Mark Watkins to find out.”

• 7% of all American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows (no kidding), according to a nationally representative online survey commissioned by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy. I would assume that these people also think that brown eggs come from brown chickens and are cheaper because they are plain wrapped.

•  By a 5-0 vote, two future projects have been approved by the Ventura Port District to be located on Spinnaker Drive in the Harbor “For development of visitor serving uses”. The Ventura Port Board of Commissioners unanimously chose the developer and management company, H. Parker Hospitality (who partners with the Fess Parker Brand H. Parker Hospitality), to develop the two parcels that the district owns.

One is at the end of Spinnaker Drive next to the Channel Islands Visitor Center (on the dirt lot). The other site is the large grass next to the former Blackbeard’s BBQ (soon to be a beer and sausage restaurant).

Parker proposed a 64-room upscale facility and spa, with a beach cafe and a high-end restaurant with live music for the dirt lot and a hostel offering 12 shared rooms and 28 private rooms for the grass area. They would manage both.

I think that these projects would be wonderful for the Harbor even though they are many-many years away from fruition. These, along with the large development in the early stages of grading across from the Harbor, will have a large economic impact for the Harbor, its businesses, and the City of Ventura.

My concern, of course, is the large number of additional cars that would come to the Harbor. Parking is almost impossible now when events are held there, and during the summer months especially. The two projects will have their own on-site parking, and I certainly hope that will be sufficient.

Many great events (art, auto shows, etc.) are presented on the open grass area. Hopefully, some grass will remain, so that the many annual events held there can continue.

Likely later this fall-winter they would start the permit entitlement process which will require going to the Coastal Commission for approval.

The Ventura Port District is governed by a five-member Board of Port Commissioners, serving four-year terms without compensation. The current members of the Board are James J. Friedman, Everard G. Ashworth, Bruce E. Smith, Brian Brennan and Nikos T. Valance.

•  The Ventura Planning Commission have approved the staff recommendation regarding making revisions to the Ventura Auto Center Specific Plan. They will be sent go to the City Council which will have the final approvals.

The Auto Center Plan is part of Focus Area One, which includes property behind the auto mall. This property could also contain large big box businesses bringing more people to the auto center area.

Other improvements would include extending Olivas Park Drive and widening the street in front of the dealerships.

Commissioners had extensive discussions regarding the proposed signage that the dealers wanted so the center would be more visible from the freeway. They eventually approved the signs by a 5-2 vote but added that the Design Review Committee retain approval rights of all signage at the center, instead of the Community Development Director as recommended.

A sign roughly 82’ tall and 218’ from the freeway was approved. The sign would sit below the freeway height. There were several community speakers who were opposed to the sign. Part of the approval is that the City has occasional use of the sign to showcase events and happenings in Ventura.

The commissioners also approved the auto dealers’ request that used vehicles sold there must be five years old or newer. Lots selling only used cars are prohibited.

The plan now goes to the City Council for a final vote. It will be an agenda item at the July 10 meeting.

The Ventura Auto Center is the biggest sales tax generator for the city. These conditions could help it bring in even more revenue and taxes.

Unlike Oxnard’s Auto Center, there is little reason to drive by our dealers unless looking for a car (or RV) or going to plays cards at Players Casino. To visit several big box stores in Oxnard, it is necessary to drive through their auto center, so they have much greater exposure. How great would it be to have the only IKEA on the central coast, for example? Imagine how many people from the region would visit Ventura.

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