City Council Meeting: Classic Car Sunday Cruise coming to Camarillo

By Logan McFadden

The Camarillo City Council met on March 25, purchase 2015. The Council voted unanimously to issue a special event permit to the Old Town Association for seven Classic Car Cruise events on the fourth Sunday afternoon of each month starting April 26, clinic 2015. The cars on display will be 1980 and older models. The event will offer food, sale a live band, and a beer garden. The event has been held on Fridays in the past, but the Association hopes to attract more families on Sunday. Councilmember Kevin Kildee pointed out that local businesses would be closed on Sunday. The organizers have been contacting the local businesses and some plan to open. Event proceeds will go to Old Town Association, a non-profit.

The Council approved amendments to City Policy 7.01. This action gives the City Council status reports on General Plan Amendment Referrals. Within the past year, the Council has rescinded GPA referrals for the Conejo Creek and St. John Seminary housing development projects. These projects commenced in 2007 and stalled due to the deep recession. The subject amendments require an annual review report on project status and a more robust report every three years which will require the Council to continue the referral or rescind the referral. If a project languishes, circumstances supporting the initial GPA referral may change. For example, the St. John’s 134 acre residential housing project was changed from a retail housing market business model to an age qualified project limiting buyers to 55 plus years old. Also, the number of houses was reduced from 390-430 units to 270-290. Councilmember Michael Morgan noted that it costs the developer money to process a project prior to a public hearing. This GPA policy change will afford the Council an opportunity to stop a project before the developer absorbs costs for subsequent phases of a project that is rescinded on a timelier basis. In the case of the St. John’s project, Shea Homes was requesting a GPA to re-zone land from agricultural to residential. Bottom line, a developer is most likely to stick with the initial plan when the economy is stable. When an unstable economy occurs, a developer may often change the plan. The Council does not expect future projects to be extended more than three years prior to a public hearing, but this new policy does cover that potential circumstance.

The Council unanimously approved an amendment to City Policy 7.09. The amendment updates and adds language to address the design and dispersal of affordable housing in new developments. This process is voluntary and allows the City to give incentives to a developer to build affordable housing either on the project site or another site within the City.

As reported previously, the City worked with the Camarillo Springs HOA to assist its residents with the cleanup and mitigation of potential debris flow in the future. HERE Barbara Williams, HOA President, spoke of the heretofore positive relationship as now having significant problems with respect to the work costing $966,000 to prevent future mud slides into the homes. Essentially there is an issue with the debris flow mitigation which arises from the incorrect placement of K-rails. One resident spoke to his specific concerns regarding the K-rail placement which would actually direct debris onto his property. He requested City staff to visit his property to assess the situation and come up with a plan to relocate the K-rails so that debris flow resulting from any potential heavy rain storm would be diverted to the debris platforms created as part of the mitigation construction project. Mayor Bill Little asked the City Manager to respond to the HOA and owners regarding a long-term solution. The City Manager, Bruce Feng, stated that soil and debris risk engineers are two weeks away from finalizing a report. It is hoped that more global information will be presented at the next Council meeting. Barbara Williams responded to comments she has heard in the community that the HOA was planning to sue the State. She stated that the HOA is not suing the State.

A Camarillo resident, Matt Lorimer, spoke to the Rent Review Board process. He resides at the Lamplighter Mobile Home Park. The process gives renters up to 30 days to review a Board recommendation following negotiations among the City, the residents and park owner, IPG. The recommendation is not binding. Mr. Lorimer stated that the date stamp on the most recent rental recommendation was prior to the post mark date on the envelope, thus providing a resident less than 30 days.

Mr. Lorimer also asked the City Council to review all of the housing development projects approved for construction. He stressed that the city’s residents are being asked to conserve water during the draught and asked why more housing was approved given the water shortage. Mayor Bill Little requested the City Manager to report back as to the number of developments in the pipeline.

The fiscal year 2015/2016 Community Service Grant requests were presented to the Council by staff. Grants totaling $53,285 will become available to the recipients on July 1, 2015. The following organizations received a grant:

Adolfo Camarillo High School $ 3,500
Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo 9,130
Camarillo Art Center 2,000
Channel Island Choral Association 1,582
Girl Scouts of California-Central Coast 1,115
New West Symphony 8,500
Pleasant Valley Historical Society 2,000
Rio Mesa High School 2,000
Save Our Kids’ Music 3,050
Special Olympics – Ventura County 2,500
Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology 4,418
Camarillo Family YMCA 13,490

The following grant requests were denied:

Children’s Home Society of California $ 9,888
Studio Channel Islands Art Center (CSG) 10,000
Kiwanis Club of Camarillo (CSG) 20,000
Brain Injury Center of Ventura County 4,300
Pleasant Valley Education Foundation (CSG) 1,925
Camarillo Arts Center 750

Recipients noted as “CSG” did not meet policy guidelines.

Mayor Bill Little believes policy should allow exceptions to fund requests which do not fall within guidelines. Councilmember Jan McDonald said that would open the door for every Councilmember to request re-evaluation of a denied grant. The grants were awarded as presented by a vote of 4-1, with Mayor Bill Little dissenting.

Logan McFadden is a city reporter and a recently retired banker, residing in Camarillo. He volunteers for the Heritage Action Sentinel team and serves as the AMAC Delegate to the 26th Congressional District and a Convention of States District Captain.

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