At issue is the nine-month extension of Channel Islands Harbor Properties LLC’s (CIHP) Exclusive Right To Negotiate (ERN) for parcel X-3 ( located at 2950 Harbor Boulevard across the street from the Harbor Walk complex office/meeting room) and parcels F/F-1 (a portion of the parcels awarded for the redevelopment of the derelict Casa Sirena Hotel).
The Harbor and Beach Community Alliance (HBCA) filed a complaint against the County Board of Supervisors for violating California’s Brown Act, which ensures transparent government processes and public access, during a regular public Board of Supervisors’ meeting on June 23rd.
The Board voted against the extensions by a vote of 3-2.
Then after the next agenda item was called and discussed a re-vote was called for by Supervisor Bennett so he could change his vote from a NO to a YES in favor or extending CIHP’s exclusivity.
The County’s Counsel, Leroy Smith, told the Board that the developer if given an ERN would be favored and have an advantage over other developers. Supervisor Bennett’s reversal was stunning as he initially expressed concern about not giving CIHP “a leg up over other developers”.
Bennett changed his vote even though Supervisor Parks pointed out that Harbor Director’s letter of June 22nd stated neither of CIHP’s development concepts for Parcel X-3 or Parcels F/F1 were acceptable because they included a significant number of apartments with insufficient amount of visitor and public serving amenities. Supervisor Parks also said that in a real open vision, no one developer should have a leg up. This will discourage other developers.
The Harbor Director concluded his response with he is CERTAIN that the projects on these parcels will be mixed use. This means apartments are not an option, it is only a question of how many.
This “reconsideration” voting should have been properly agendized. Instead the second vote was taken after the public had been physically/digitally muted or left the meeting so there was no way for the public to speak about the Board’s action. It was critical that HBCA file a legal complaint of violation of the Brown Act. We need to stop these exclusivity extensions. They will limit and may even prevent other developers concepts for these parcels. It is a critical time to write your objections to extending these ERNs.
6/26/2020 A letter was sent to Ventura County Supervisors by attorney Douglas Carstens on behalf of HBCA:
“We demand that you cease and desist in your continuing efforts to defeat the public transparency purposes of the Brown Act, and that you rescind the purported extension of the ERNs approved by the County on June 23, 2020. This extension occurred upon reconsideration of an earlier vote against the extension that had occurred at a publicly noticed hearing. The reconsideration did not occur pursuant to a properly agendized action to reconsider the earlier vote, nor did it allow public participation as required by the Brown Act.”