Santa Paula: Harvest at Limoneira Ground Breaking

By Sheryl Hamlin

According to Limoneira CEO Harold Edwards, it was during a meeting last century with Santa Paula City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, that the subject of expanding the city east via the historic Teague-McKevett Ranch was germinated.

And today, November 8, 2017, nearly two decades after first appearing in the Los Angeles Times, the official ground breaking was held against a backdrop of the row of historic, hundred year old Canariensis Palm Trees and a tourist perfect blue sky.

Harold Edwards Speaks to Crowd

Mr. Edwards pointed out progress in grading, construction of a mega-sized water storage tank that will benefit the entire city, and the many jobs that will result in the project. The timeline is late 2018 when the lots will be ready to be sold to home developers. Mr. Edwards reiterated the parks and amenities which have long been touted as a community benefit to the project.

Other speakers included: Executive Vice President of Marketing, Lewis Group of Companies Randal Lewis; Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long; Director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency Johnson Gill; Ventura County CEO Mike Powers; and Limoneira Board Chairman Gordon Kimball.

Mr. Lewis stressed the theme of “Harvest” saying that the Santa Paula “Harvest” would be in the many such “harvest” branded projects his company builds. There is now a “Harvest” at Uplands.

Standing Room Crowd

Limoneira/Lewis at Council November 6, 2017

A recent item at the Santa Paula City Council meeting of Nobember 6, 2018 was an amendment to the East Area Specific Plan where 68 units were modified to become four blocks of detached condominiums. This was done because of setback issues precluding the single family units. The new units will be 2688 square foot lot condominiums. To watch the agenda item click here. The planner explained to Mayor Crosswhite that moving from the “conceptual plan” approved in November 2016 to an actual building plan resulted in the need for the change.

East Area 1 Condos

Mr. Jones explained that these condos differ from the “six-packs” where a common driveway is shared by six condos. Each unit in this product type will have its own driveway and a small yard. He also stressed affordability with this product. These will be gated and fenced with the area HOA maintained.

Santa Paula Bridge Not Yet Permitted

Also on the November 6, 2017 agenda, Item 12 A Santa Paula Street Bridge was discussed. The 17 year dispute between National Marine Fisheries (NMFS) and The Army Corps of Engineers is not near resolution. Limoneira/Lewis was required to build the bridge by the 250th home. This development agreement must be changed due to the uncertainty in the permitting. Vice Mayor Gherardi expressed concerns about a bifurcated community without the bridge. Mr. Jones reported that they want to build the bridge. In the interim, Padre Lane will be kept open even after the Hallock Road extension is opened. See previous article about the Hallock extension. In desperation, Limoneira has hired a lobbyist with the “right cointacts” to get NMFS to change its mind. If this does not occur, an alternative second mode of egress from East Area 1 must be designed. Mr. Lewis asked for political help in letter writing Washington. Council Member Hernandez asked about the timeline. Mr. Jones said one sale per builder per week would be about 200 homes or 250 in May 2020, when the bridge would be required. No one asked about the status of the denied 401 Permit.

Mr. Lewis said they would not spend $100 million on infrastructure for only 250 homes, so they will not start until this is resolved. This is a “huge dilemma”, said Jones. Council Member Hernandez said that SR 150 congestion is increasing so the bridge as bypass is absolutely necessary. The council approved the Development Agreement change and planned to revisit in four months. This is not to be confused with the bypass for Fagan Canyon.

Note that Council Member Procter recused himself in both Limoneira items on the November 6, 2017 council meeting.

To read previous articles about the East Area 1 project, click here.

For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

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