Santa Paula Council: New Fire Chief and East Area 1 Status

By Sheryl Hamlin

New Fire Chief

Mayor Gherardi started the evening off introducing John McNeil of Ventura County Fire District who is the new Fire Chief in Santa Paula. He said he would be focusing on the transition period between now and July 8, 2018 when Santa Paula no longer has a fire department under its name. In the picture below, Chief McNeil is standing and current Chief Araiza sitting and looking happy.

Chief McNeil, VCFPD

East Area 1 Status

Tim Jones of Limoneira/Lewis, the partnership created to develop East Area 1 (EA1), presented a status report of the 20+ year old project on the site of the historic Teague-McKevett Ranch. For previous articles, click here.

Site plan Phase 1 East Area 1

Mr. Jones projected site plan of the Hahn Creek neighborhood. There are four products to be delivered initially:

6-Packs (teal)
4-Pack (gold)
45 by 100 foot lots for Single Family Residential (green)
45 X 75 foot lots for Single Family Residential (purple)

Note the 6-packs are patterned after the groups of six homes in The Riverpark where six homes share a driveway in the rear. There was no picture of the four-pack or the single family homes.

Mr. Jones said that two builders are under consideration: KV Homes and Lennar. Due Diligence is in process. Both KV Homes and Lennar are alreading working in Ventura county. The goal is to present models by the end of March 2019.

Massive infrastructure is underway on the site: all backbone sewer and water installed (shown in red), the three million gallon tank is in process (round circle at top), agricultural well # 6 is in the process of being converted to a domestic well including treatment (no details), SoCal Gas lines were lowered as well as high pressure lines, and old oil lines were discovered and relocated.

Although Limoneira/Lewis has graded most of the site, the field of avocado trees to the north of the site has been left. More will be added to surround the 3 million gallon water tank which will be painted green and partially submerged to mitigate its visibility.

The railroad issue, he said, was exacerbated by the collapse of the bridge across St Rt 126. The Fillmore & Western just received a repair permit, so work will commence with a completion goal of July 2018. Concurrently, Limoneira/Lewis hopes to have the tracks which are now removed as part of the Hallok Road extension, replaced in order to facilitate that date.

The HOA Rec Area (shown in blue on the site plan) will be initially the Sales Office and will be the first “sticks in the air” on the property, said Jones. Potential buyers will be directed north to the sales office, sold on the community and then shown the models. There is a roundabout next to the Rec Area as well as a retaining wall between the Club House and the school which is immediately below the Rec Area. The “historic Pump House” was mentioned in conjunction with the road to the Rec Area.

Artist rendering: Rear of Rec Area looking south

The school will be built by Limoneira/Lewis, but said Jones, construction costs are escalating 20% annually so funding for a K-8 will not be sufficient, so a K-5 is envisioned with room for expansion. There is no gym in K-5.

A question about solar was asked to which Mr. Jones said that most builders are putting in solar in order to satisfy the Title 24 requirements. The houses will probably be plumbed and architected for solar, but he reminded the council that Limoneira/Lewis is not a homebuilder. He also reminded the audience of the new State law mandating solar on all new homes by 2020.

As to purple pipes (recycled water), they have built pipeline for reclaimed water to the parks which are cross-connected to potable water, he said, so that in the event the city can provide reclaimed water, it is ready to go without re-metering.

Council Member Hernandez asked about the commercial and industrial area. Mr. Lewis said that Mike Penrod is working on this area, which is not part of the joint venture, so the council will ask Mr. Penrod to attend a future meeting.

Mayor Gherardi asked about the bridge (over Santa Paula Creek). Recall that this bridge has been in dispute for over a decade between the Army Corps of Enginneers and NMFS (National Marine Fisheries) and provides the second of two required modes of ingress/egress to the project. Limoneira/Lewis visited Washington with a lobbyist earlier to raise the awareness of this issue. Mr. Jones indicated that they are hoping for a resolution by summer 2018 and have been hearing “good feedback”.

Mr. Lewis presented some aerial photographs of grading and pad creation.

Who is the Target Market?

Theoretically with a school and many parks, the community appears designed for families with children. Many school districts across California are reporting record declines. LAUSD lost 12,000 students in 2018. And, if you recall, SPUSD dropped the K-8 in EA1 last year due to a forecast drop in students. California’s birthrate has fallen to record lows, per the Sacramento Bee, which indicates communities will be challenged to find young, home buying families, but particularly Ventura County which has experienced a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of less than 1% for the last decade.

There was no mention of the 100 units of apartments which were added to the plan, nor the Regional Sports Park, although Mayor Gherardi said she was interested in solar lighting for the park. The issue of noise and lighting pollution from this Regional Park has never been clearly answered.

To watch the video of this meeting, click here. This item is near the beginning of the three hour plus meeting.

For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com


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