City’s 2021 General Plan Update Discussed at Ventura City Council

City Council Meeting - July 16

By Lori Denman-Underhill

Mayor Neil Andrews began the city council meeting of July 16 by honoring the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Ventura with a Certificate of Recognition for their selfless service, especially during the Thomas Fire.

Assembly Member Monique Limon and other state senators and assembly members awarded the 2018 California Nonprofit of the Year to the Boys and Girls Club of greater Ventura at a prior event. They helped hundreds of families evicted by the Thomas Fire find much-needed childcare and also offered free childcare at times. They also provide programs to local youth, helping them to grow into productive members of society.

City Clerk Antoinette Mann announced to the community that on this day of the city council meeting of July 16 was the first official day towards the November 6 election day nomination period. The nomination period runs from July 16 to August 10. Anyone who is interested in information on becoming a candidate from districts one, four, five and six, should contact the city clerk’s office by phone, email or stop by the office.

There were no public speakers or council comments on the consent items. These items included: City Hall Terra Cotta Maintenance Project – Authority to Execute Professional Services Agreement; Harbor Church Demolition (including to approve contract plans); Ventura Water Reclamation Facility – Digester Improvement Project – approve the contract plans and specifications.

General Plan Update

Every 10 years, all counties and cities in California are required to update their general plan under the California State Planning Law. This plan comprises the community’s vision for Ventura’s future. It directs policies on roads, housing, land use, water supply, safety and historical and natural resources.

The formal item discussed on this evening of July 16 was an overview of the City’s 2021 General Plan Update. This update was completed by the Community Development Department. Public speakers arrived in force from the Montalvo community, asking city council to keep a close watch on their close-knit single-family homes. They claim that predatorial developers circle by from time to time.

Ian Holt, Principal Planner

The formal item is called “2021 General Plan Update Initiation Steps, Request to Allow the City Response to the Southern California Association of Governments Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy, General Plan Implementation Annual Report and Housing Element Update.”

The manager of the general plan’s update is Ian Holt, Principal Planner. He provided a quick overview of their General Plan, scheduling and vision and goals. There are also state mandates they must fulfill. Public outreach will occur, including educating the public. In December of 2121, the general plan is scheduled to go into effect.

Existing vision and goals is part of the plan called “Ventura Vision” which includes 10 goals put into the general plan and was established 15 years ago. This vision has top principles of reaching out to the community, establishing connections within the city and working proactively to complete the visions with input from the communities.

It is with this group’s intention that their well planned and designed community complete these goals – protect the hillsides, farmlands and open spaces; enhance Ventura’s historic and cultural resources; respect diverse neighborhoods; reinvest in other communities and create great places.

It is important to venture out into the community to test all aspects of the vision. City Council will discuss these aspects again this spring. Reports from various sections of the community will be brought back for review. There are also state mandates they must follow and complete. By completing these processes, the plan will be confirmed or not, then guiding the city on its next steps.

This formal item has a public comment section following presentations. Susan Montgomery, Westside Action Community Chair politely yet firmly disagreed with the plan, calling it poorly written and executed with ill-considered land use. She said the current plan promotes Los Angeles-style high-density housing and hurts Westside businesses. She is concerned with the plan that has a “long overdue” update. The plan also does not work with the underserved community. She said there are also vacant industrial spaces that can be used for employment.

Susan Montgomery, Westside Action Community Chair

The plan was called a “blueprint for the future of our community,” another speaker stated. She encourages community engagement. Dense development of the plan and the importance of parks was the top topic of this plan’s comment section.

Many members from Montalvo community asked the city council to pay close attention to the single-family homes areas and not let them turn into multi-unit construction. One woman understands the need for affordable housing. Yet, developers are constantly looking at Montalvo looking to “victimize current residents,” with profit-driven, not community-driven goals. Community members are looking to the City Council to protect them and look out for their best interests, not overdevelopment. A resident of five years of Montalvo urged city staff to adjust the current land use designated map to match the current zoning map for the Montalvo area.

Council mentioned that the likelihood of Montalvo changing away from single family homes is not a likely situation. If developers want to complete any tasks, they would have to speak at City Council and gain approval.

In the end, Andrews learned that the city council staff does not recommend moving forward with the general plan refinement project at this time, it is being folded into the general plan update. Andrews asked if it would take longer if the Montalvo portion of the plan would be analyzed. The answer to this by Holt is the general plan update would not be delayed. It would not take more time for a consultant to be hired because he or she would be from the company Rincon, that has already done work for the city. They would be brought on board to analyze the Montalvo portion in November. The cost of that would be in the 10K range, approximately. The Rincon consultant is now working on Thomas Fire issues and later in the fall, the Montalvo update would be completed.

The motion to pass the general plan update was denied by the majority of city council, including Andrews. A motion was made to pass the land use and zoning of the plan, but to also subtract the Montalvo portion to be analyzed.

City Council Meeting Agendas – Ventura, CA: https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/AgendaCenter

Agenda, July 16, City Council Regular Meeting: https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_07162018-1652

Video, July 16, Ventura City Council Regular Meeting Video: https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/718/Videos

Lori Denman-Underhill has been a professional journalist since 1996. She has worked as associate editor for the Los Angeles Daily News TODAY Magazines and has freelanced for LA Weekly, Surfline.com and more. She is now the Ventura reporter for Citizens Journal.


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2 Responses to City’s 2021 General Plan Update Discussed at Ventura City Council

  1. William Hicks July 25, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Lots of verbiage with little detail about the General Plan from the City of Ventura.

    It sounds a lot like Barry Obama’s flowery speeches, and when they’re over you have to ask yourself…..”what did he actually say?”

    Reply
  2. William Hicks July 24, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Any comments about increasing water supply?

    Reply

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