Ventura City Council makes progress on Economic Development in Focus Area One

by city staff

On July 24, 2017 the Ventura City Council approved a General Plan Amendment, Specific Plan amendment, and Sign Agreement within the Auto Center Specific Plan that will make the surrounding area significantly more conducive to economic investment. The amendments pave the way to increased economic vitality by improving accessibility, visibility, and circulation in the Ventura Auto Center.

In January, the City Council reinstated economic development and vitality as one of its top priorities, emphasizing progress on Focus Area One and the Auto Center Specific Plan. Ventura Auto Center employs more than 1,000 workers and is the City’s top revenue generator. The new amendments are consistent with the policies and actions contained in the 2005 General Plan and make the area more supportive of business investment.

“This is a significant step for economic well-being in Ventura,” said City Manager Mark Watkins. “With the City Council’s support, Focus Area One is positioned for long term growth and expansion.”

The revisions to the Auto Center Specific Plan add 7.5 acres to the Specific Plan area to facilitate a road widening, installation of new signage and improved circulation for motorists by creating safer vehicular travel lanes.

The adoption of the Auto Center Specific Plan Sign Agreement allows additional signage locations and an 82 foot high multiple-user, electronic, reader-board sign. A sign content agreement limits the type of content displayed and allocates the amount of time dedicated to specific types of advertising, including public service announcements such as Amber Alerts and Ventura events. Visitors and residents will see an improvement in the identity of the Auto Center with new signage visible from US 101 and Olivas Park Drive.

Last year, the City installed a new sewer pipeline to bypass the decommissioned Montalvo wastewater plant. An earthen levee will also be constructed to protect the site from the adjacent Santa Clara River and allow for new construction and the highly anticipated extension of Olivas Park Drive which will connect to Auto Center Drive and Johnson Drive, significantly improving access to the auto dealers.

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