• In our last issue, I commented about the abundant amount of microbreweries in Ventura. I said that I don’t like beer, but I don’t like chocolate either so maybe (maybe?) I’m just strange. Most people like both of them.
• Because of the demolition work being done at the corner of Thompson Blvd. and Sanjon Rd. , I have been asked by several people if I know what is being built on the site. A 31-unit townhouse project has had very preliminary approvals, but is still sometime away from being built.
Due to the awful condition of the site, and because the homeless have been living in some of the structures, the City is allowing the property owner to do some preliminary demo and grading to clean it up. I commend the City for allowing this, as a dirt lot will certainly be better then what had been there previously.
• The Harbor Views publication is in this issue. The Ventura Port District inserts this in the Ventura Breeze because they know that it is an effective way to reach Venturans. I thank them for this, and we can all learn a lot of nice things happening at our Ventura Harbor.
• To give the Erskine Fire, Kern County fire some perspective, it burned about 50,000 acres. Ventura is about 14,000 square acres so the fire was over 3 times the size of our city.
• Several years ago, there was preliminary talk about building an aquarium at the end of the Harbor. This would have been a wonderful addition, but I have been told that approvals from the many jurisdictions involved made it too difficult to pursue. They included the Port District, Coastal Commission, the City and who knows who else.
• CVS Pharmacy will be occupying the former Fresh&Easy building located at 2260 East Thompson Boulevard. The exterior revisions will only consist of new paint colors.
• I’m glad to see that the many recently shuttered downtown restaurants (5-6 perhaps) have new owners and are in the process of re-opening. The restaurant business it tough so I hope that these new establishments can survive. It’s important to not have empty buildings of any sort downtown (or anywhere in the City, for that matter). Rocket Fizz is relocating from 105 S. Oak St. to 315 E. Main St.
• The renovation problems at the Pierpont Inn continue, but all services are up and running.
Ventura city officials red-tagged portions of the Inn about 5-months ago after non-permitted work being performed by the contractor made it dangerous to occupy. The contractor (who should have known better) removed structural beams after finding dry-rot. A wood structure this old is usually full of dry-rot and termites and the contractor should have been prepared for that.
The Inn has had several owners during the last 5-years but has been owned by DKN Hotels of Irvine since 2015. A major company like this should have known better then to initiate construction without required permits. Plus, this is a designated historical building which requires special review and approvals by our Historic Preservation Committee which also wasn’t obtained.
Two weeks ago, the city issued more violation notices because of the lack of progress and the fact that some red tagged areas were being used.
If the work and proper permits aren’t obtained in a timely manner, the city could shut down the hotel.
The Inn’s application for a special use permit to present their summer BBQ concerts (a local favorite) has been denied by the City. I would assume that when the “permitted” work is completed, they can receive the use permit but summer will be over by then.
On the positive side, the hotel and restaurant are completely functional. The restaurant and bar have been moved to a new location in the building and still have great ocean views. The bar is not as nice as the old one but has some seating and drinks can be served to the tables.
The rooms are being completely remodeled and are very nicely furnished.
I am shocked that a major hotel owner would proceed with the remodeling without obtaining the required permits and approvals.
• The Federal Aviation Administration has announced new rules for flying drones. Drones flown for commercial uses no longer require a special permit only if they don’t weigh more than 55 pounds, fly no higher than 400 feet and no closer than 400 feet from buildings. So, we might start to deliver the Ventura Breeze by drone except you might need to walk in the middle of the freeway to get a copy.
• The Republican controlled Senate has voted down proposals to ban gun sales to terrorism suspects. I guess the second amendment protects all Americans that wish to own guns. Maybe it’s time to control the type of guns that can be purchased as the State has just done.
And speaking of gun rights, a 6-year old boy accidentally shot his 4-year old brother in the head while playing with his mother’s pistol. I’m sure that crooks will now leave the lady alone knowing that she owns a pistol.
• The Ventura City Council has voted 4-3 to not place a salary increase on the November ballot.
Because they voted 6-1 to ask voters to raise the sales tax by a half cent, they felt that also asking for a pay increase at the same time would not sit well with voters. The pay increase will probably be included on the 2018 ballot. The Council pay will stay at $600 per month and $700 for the Mayor.
Mike Tracy best summarized why 4 members voted against by saying, “There’s no way our current compensation is adequate, but it didn’t make sense to put it on the ballot the same time as the proposed sales tax measure.”