Council directs staff: Better accounting for Camarillo Ranch Foundation–Possible moratorium on Development

By Logan McFadden

The Camarillo City Council met on May 27, 2015. Councilmember Charlotte Craven was not present.

Councilmember Jan McDonald stated that she had received several letters raising questions about the Camarillo Ranch historical site. She directed the staff to require the CPA to give more attention to the process of income and expense reporting. The next audit should be available this summer for the fiscal year ending June 30th. Ms. McDonald wants to assure the public that “everything is going well”.

Three Lamplighter Mobile Home Park residents spoke. They asked the City Council to send a letter to the Park’s owner, IPG, in support of the rent increase decision made by the City’s Rent Review Commission. In April, the Commission met with IPG and the HOA and determined that rent should be increased 1.7%. Compliance with the decision is voluntary. As a general observation, one resident opined that any increase should not exceed the government’s COLA calculation (Cost of Living Adjustment).

Another resident stated that IPG informed her that IPG was going forward with the 5% increase decision determined by the Commission hearing in December 2014. IPG unilaterally decided that the HOA was not entitled to a hearing in April 2015. The resident feels the 1.7% decision was a “hollow victory”. She stated that the April hearing was a “battle” and now the residents are between a rock and a hard place. Mayor Little directed the City Attorney, Brian Pierik, to look into the matter. Councilmember Jan McDonald noted that the Commission’s policies are being reviewed.

A local resident, Matt Lorimer, stated that the revised user fee schedule adopted by the Council on May 13th benefits developers. The Council represented that user fees were being reduced, in some cases thousands of dollars. Mr. Lorimer stated that the small business owner will not benefit as much on a relative basis.

The Director of Realty with the Ventura County Community Development Corporation (VCDC) spoke to raise awareness of its programs. VCDC, a non-profit organization, offers education on financial literacy and provides lending services. The Director noted that millennials are losing hope that they can get into affordable housing. For qualified buyers, VCDC offers $45,000 in down payment assistance. The program provides a $15,000 grant plus a $30,000 deferred loan. Upon sale of the home, the owner keeps 100% of the equity. The program’s mission is to help lift people out of poverty through the appreciation of their home. Mayor Bill Little said the City would look for ways to publicize VCDC’s program.

Councilmember McDonald requested that a moratorium on new development be added to the June 10, 2015 Council meeting agenda. She specifically plans to address water source requirements for new projects and drought landscaping. Councilmember Kevin Kildee said the public has some misconceptions about approved residential projects with respect to water. He stated that all approved projects have met the City’s criteria for water sources. Ms. McDonald wants to review the approved projects’ water analysis reports.

The City Attorney, Brain Pierik, advised the Council that a procedural deadline is effective May 29, 2015. As stated above, Councilmember McDonald has requested the City Council to consider approval of an Order of Review of a decision by the Planning Commission authorizing construction of 99 residential units on 5.76 acres. The property is located at the southwest corner of Ponderosa Drive and Spring Oak Road within the Springville Specific Plan area. The site is zoned RPD-18U (Residential Planned Development. 18 dwelling units per acre maximum). A Special Meeting has been called. The City Council will convene at the City Hall Council chambers on Friday, May 29th at 9:45 am. The meeting is expected to be brief as the only business is the approval of an Order of Review. The actual discussion and vote on the merits of the project will be taken up at the June 10, 2015, City Council meeting.

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Logan McFadden is a Citizensjournal.us 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.

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