Oxnard Says No to Amendment in Fisherman’s Wharf Apartment Project

By Debbie Mitchell

CITY OF OXNARD Harbor TASK FORCE MEETING Regarding City of Oxnard’s Jurisdictional Role in Ventura County’s FISHERMAN’S WHARF APARTMENT PROJECT 

CITY SAYS NO to Amendment

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Oxnard Harbor Task Force Meeting at the PAC on Thursday September 29th was attended by over 120 residents. Photo: Debbie Mitchell

The Harbor Task Force Meeting was attended by over 120 residents at the PAC on Thursday September 29th. The Mayor opened the meeting with an explanation that they were switching the agenda a bit for clarity. The change was to allow a presentation by Ashley Golden (Oxnard Development Services Director) to precede the public comments portion of the meeting.

The following are notes that are completely paraphrasing the content of the presentation:

In Ms Golden’s (Oxnard Development Director) presentation, Why we are here and the City’s role, she made it clear that at this time the City does not have any details of the Planned Development for the area the City refers to as Channel Islands Marina Village.

She covered the timeline basics of the History of the Harbor from the 1963 City & County agreement up to the present. Part of a work in progress is an UPDATE to the Local Coastal Plan.

Ms Golden explained that according to the 1963 Agreement (which expired in 2013 and had a somewhat modified renewal for five years), the County does not need the City’s approval unless a plan does not meet the Local Coastal Plan* certified by a City and then by the California Coastal Commission. However, according to the Coastal Commission the PWPA (Public Works Plan Amendment) does not comply with the LCP (Local Coastal Plan)  and the County requires an LCP amendment to move forward. The City does not have to approve that amendment.

The Coastal Commission had sent The Ventura County Harbor Dept. a letter that they would not approve the project, because it was in violation of Oxnard Local Coastal Plan (LCP), which they said was incomplete without Oxnard’s approval of the needed zoning changes: PWP-4-CIH-16-0005-2 Incomplete Letter 2 (2).

Furthermore, the communications between the County and the City have not provided the details required to be considered an official application. The designation of Urban Village requires either a Strategic or Specific plan that would detail in what ways it meets the UV concept elaborated in the city’s 2030 general plan for mixed use, mixed density housing, transit hub and sufficient employment opportunities.

It is our understanding, however that, even if the County submits the details and makes a formal request for an LCP amendment (LCPA), the City does NOT have to approve one. That request was made by Harbor Dept. Director Lyn Krieger in a letter to the City dated 9-1-16: Letter from Lyn to city re conformance and Attachments to Sept 1 Letter to Oxnard. Key letter excerpt below:

KriegerFishermansLetterExecerpt9-1-16

Above: Excerpt from Krieger 9-1-16 letter to Oxnard Planning Dept.

 

OxFishermansWharfredev

Proposed Fisherman’s Wharf redevelopment to 390 unit apartment and retail complex.

 

Mayor Flynn added that the Goal of the Task Force was to keep the public up to date. The process of amending a local coastal plan allows for, at least, 3 more opportunities for public participation:  community workshop, planning commission hearing and a public hearing at the City Council.

I believe there were 38 speaker cards turned in for public comments. Due to the agenda change and the City confirming that they were NOT accepting the County offer of a readymade update to conform to the development many opted to hold their comments for a future date. There still were many speakers.

The speakers represented a great number of communities surrounding the harbor but with many of the same concerns.

Most importantly, several speakers urged research into the Coastal Act, stating that the General Plan must conform to the LCP and not, as the County alleges, the other way around.  The city can refuse to do a separate amendment and consider the matter as part of the LCP update that is already in progress.

Other frequently stated concerns were traffic and safety expressed by a large number of residents of all ages…  the youngest was a young man 9 years of age. Colt said if he is late to school too many times because of traffic he will get kicked out of . His mom explained that 4th graders at the HBS are allowed to ride their bikes from SS to HB to school.  However due to an accident, seriously injuring a biker from a car attempting egress from the project site onto CI Blvd, some parents are now unwilling to allow the kids to bike to school. This injured young man lost his water polo scholarship due to the accident.

One gentleman was skeptical of the presentation and implication that the City was not passing the amendment as presented by the County – he requested a verbal acknowledgement from Ashley Golden that they really were NOT going to Fast-track this plan. He got it! I think many of us felt a surge of relief for both his asking the reality check question and the acknowledgment.

There were quite a few comments regarding Island Packers expanding and many comments about the Visitor Serving needs of the area that could be met here. There were also many comments about the WHOLE of Oxnard needing this waterfront public space.

Larry Schuss… I reside and have a business here in Oxnard.

“ I was so pleased to hear that the City of Oxnard is involved in decisions being made for the future of the Fisherman’s Wharf.  This is of great concern to all citizens of Ventura County and it is a very unique situation because it directly impacts the City Of Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura County and The United States Naval Base Construction

Battalion Center. All of these entities intersect Channel Islands Blvd and Victoria Avenue.

Much time and effort has been expended discussing the negative impact of increased traffic at this vital intersection. There is also concern about dedicating  a finite  publicly  owned unique resource to private development.   I don’t know about you but 99 years is in perpetuity to me.

Other comments were more process oriented and directed at expectations for the City to uphold the process of Updating the Local Coastal Plan. 

“In Alice through the looking glass Humpety Dumpty told Alice,”When I use a word, it means what I want it to mean.”  So it is with the county.  There are specific parameters for this buzzword concept of Urban Village. A 390 block apt bldg, some restaurants and a store or two do not meet those parameters.

In the coastal zone, general plans need to conform to LCPs, not vice a versa.  Please research this point of law in the coastal act. Our city needs to protect its jurisdictional options.  It must allow its residents a say in any proposed changes to its coastal documents. Its processes in place provide for this.”

– Lauriane Effress:

At the end of the meeting Mr Nyhoff referenced one of the speakers as having hit every point that needed to be made about the LCP and the amendment and the 2030 General Plan, saying maybe Diane Delaney should come work for the City.

Diane’s comments included:
The city’s Local Coastal Plan must be in conformance with the Coastal Act.  The city’s 2030 General Plan even states that whatever visions the city may have for the coastal zone, those visions must in the end conform with the Coastal Act.  What may have been envisioned at one time by the city, and what is proposed by the County does not meet the Coastal Act policies regarding public access, views, public parking, lower cost visitor serving uses, Harbor and boating related uses and so on.

The city is expected to have its LCP update in early to mid-2017.  Any amendments for the harbor location should be with that update rather than the continued piecemealing and spot zoning of projects.

We must consider all of the other many projects already approved and not yet built as well as any other zoning changes in the area that could ultimately impact traffic, the public’s access to the harbor and beaches, public parking, city services and infrastructure.

To do a separate amendment to the LCP for this project would prevent an over view of long term implications of this and other changes to the area.

All in all this was a win for the residents and wonderful change from the devastating dismissal of all concerns by the County Board Of Supervisors in June.

But this is a small skirmish in the midst of a larger battleground. Bert Perello mentioned the number of area resident groups present and encouraged them to stick together and stay active.

Mayor Flynn wrapped up the meeting with thanks for the great turnout and announced the next Harbor Task Force Meeting on October 20th.

Check in on Nextdoor.com to find local groups voicing concern about these issues. Or look for the petition tables in Silverstrand, mor check  with your Neighborhood Council on how to participate.

Many of the neighborhood movements are also supporting a group called Harbor and Beach Community Alliance created to raise funds to pay for Legal Fees and Experts. http://cineighbors.com/harbor-beach-community-alliance/

Commentary:

Lauraine HARBOR TASK FORCE SEPT 29 2016

Larry_Shuss

Rene_Aiu_Sept-29-Task-Force-Meeting

Notes:

In addition to the original comments attached the following links provide information and resources:

* “LCPs reflect the unique characteristics of each individual local coastal community while also addressing regional and statewide interests and concerns. Following adoption of an update to a certified LCP by a City Council, it is submitted to the Coastal Commission for review for consistency with Coastal Act requirements, and ultimately, certification.:
See:
http://www.oxnardlcpupdate.com/faqs.html

 Oxnard Coastal Plan 1986 rev: 10/86, 8/87, 1/88, 7/88, 5/02

https://www.oxnard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/CoastalLandUsePlan.pdf

Coastal Commission

http://www.coastal.ca.gov/
Laws, Regulations, and Legislative Information

 http://www.coastal.ca.gov/ccatc.html

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Debbie Mitchell is an Oxnard CA harbor resident and businesswoman, active in neighborhood issues.

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One Response to Oxnard Says No to Amendment in Fisherman’s Wharf Apartment Project

  1. Dotty Pringle October 20, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks to fact research, things are moving forward now and the City has the proper information needed to protect our Public Land and CI Harbor/Marinas.

    Dotty Pringle
    Investigative Research
    Independent Harbor Activist

    Reply

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