Say "Not Here, Never" to Regent Properties


The Camarillo City Council just canceled the proposed massive 895-acre Conejo Creek development in Camarillo (Ventura County Star, September 11, front page). Here we see the power of people to shape their civic lives through democratic means. The 895-acre plan by Development Planning Services would have created a mini-city that no one needs or wants except the developers and the ag owners of the land.

As citizen Camille Crawford said to the Council, don’t just kill it temporarily or scale it down, stop it “permanently now and forever more.” She must know how these projects can rise from the dead and come back to haunt us another day.

Seven years ago, another even more massive development got postponed and ultimately killed, this time in the City of Ventura. An early edition of the Breeze carried the story (see scanned copy below). For $60 million, Investec wanted to buy 3,500 acres of Ventura hills behind the city and build “executive” homes and 23 huge ranches, with promises of open space for preservation and public use. It never happened due to citizen opposition.

Yet, developing the Ventura hillsides has come back to haunt us. A much smaller plan is in the works. Developer Regent Properties wants to build 55 “executive houses” on 45 acres in the ocean-facing hills from Hall Canyon Road west to Lincoln Drive. Regent too proposes a gift of open space, 170 acres of it.

The objections to such developments, large and small, have only increased in seven years. We are already in crisis mode for water. We need years of soaking rains to get back to normal and radical changes in our use of water if we are to live within our water means. Each high end executive house in the proposed Regent Ventura Estates features a pool.

The traffic in the city is now a major hassle and residents try to find hours during the day when the streets are somewhat available for normal use. Regent’s claim of only an additional 110 trips a day from the project is radically underestimated --just one in and out trip per day per house??

Also, Regent’s development would have only one route in and out of the hills, through Hall Canyon Road, with its frequent bottlenecks at the high school already a dangerous nightmare. Only one additional exit would be available to those “executives,” only in an emergency—some cars escaping the hills in a fire could try to negotiate narrow Lincoln Drive.

We’ll have some time to air and debate these and other issues—how much will citizens have to share in the dollar costs of the development? does land development actually improve local fiscal health? what population and density level in the city do our citizens want? what about the nearby high pressure gas lines, which rupture without new instabilities being introduced to the the hills? how will environmental impacts be mitigated? is a potential gain in open space worth grading and reshaping the ocean-facing hills, a Ventura icon if there ever was one. The hills might be our only semi-natural icon left.

We need to get involved now to learn about and state either our support or objection to Regent’s plan as it unfolds. Remember, forty new developments are already approved for Ventura. Perhaps sooner than later the citizens of Ventura will speak out with the same message that citizens of Camarillo delivered loud and clear: “Not here, never.”

The Camarillo City Council just canceled the proposed massive 895-acre Conejo Creek development in Camarillo (Ventura County Star, September 11, front page). Here we see the power of people to shape their civic lives through democratic means. The 895-acre plan by Development Planning Services would have created a mini-city that no one needs or wants except the developers and the ag owners of the land.

As citizen Camille Crawford said to the Council, don’t just kill it temporarily or scale it down, stop it “permanently now and forever more.” She must know how these projects can rise from the dead and come back to haunt us another day.

Seven years ago, another even more massive development got postponed and ultimately killed, this time in the City of Ventura. An early edition of the Breeze carried the story (see scanned copy below). For $60 million, Investec wanted to buy 3,500 acres of Ventura hills behind the city and build “executive” homes and 23 huge ranches, with promises of open space for preservation and public use. It never happened due to citizen opposition.

Yet, developing the Ventura hillsides has come back to haunt us. A much smaller plan is in the works. Developer Regent Properties wants to build 55 “executive houses” on 45 acres in the ocean-facing hills from Hall Canyon Road west to Lincoln Drive. Regent too proposes a gift of open space, 170 acres of it.

The objections to such developments, large and small, have only increased in seven years. We are already in crisis mode for water. We need years of soaking rains to get back to normal and radical changes in our use of water if we are to live within our water means. Each high end executive house in the proposed Regent Ventura Estates features a pool.

The traffic in the city is now a major hassle and residents try to find hours during the day when the streets are somewhat available for normal use. Regent’s claim of only an additional 110 trips a day from the project is radically underestimated --just one in and out trip per day per house??

Also, Regent’s development would have only one route in and out of the hills, through Hall Canyon Road, with its frequent bottlenecks at the high school already a dangerous nightmare. Only one additional exit would be available to those “executives,” only in an emergency—some cars escaping the hills in a fire could try to negotiate narrow Lincoln Drive.

We’ll have some time to air and debate these and other issues—how much will citizens have to share in the dollar costs of the development? does land development actually improve local fiscal health? what population and density level in the city do our citizens want? what about the nearby high pressure gas lines, which rupture without new instabilities being introduced to the the hills? how will environmental impacts be mitigated? is a potential gain in open space worth grading and reshaping the ocean-facing hills, a Ventura icon if there ever was one. The hills might be our only semi-natural icon left.

We need to get involved now to learn about and state either our support or objection to Regent’s plan as it unfolds. Remember, forty new developments are already approved for Ventura. Perhaps sooner than later the citizens of Ventura will speak out with the same message that citizens of Camarillo delivered loud and clear: “Not here, never."


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