Ventura City Council moves forward to enforce fees and penalties

VenturaSeal2By Susan Aquino

VENTURA–Residents from the newly annexed community of Montalvo were on hand at the June 15th City Council meeting for a public hearing regarding code enforcement by their new city government. The annexation was forced last year due to a bureaucratic requirement in exchange for the approval of a housing development in East Ventura.

Discussion at the City Council meeting centered on what were either unintentional errors or outright new proposals in the Montalvo annexation papers. One resident claimed items were mysteriously changed from what was previously promised.

In general, hospital residents had a lot of unanswered questions and wanted to send back several items for revision. A waiver for code compliance was specifically requested.

The Ventura City Council passed a proposal to set aside a fund of $18,000 to pay code enforcement fees and penalties for those coming forward voluntarily to report their non-conforming units.

Several Montalvo residents said they had bought homes for the rural ambiance and did not want to see any changes.

DUE PROCESS?
The Ventura County Grand Jury has found the City of Ventura’s code enforcement policies to be “abusive” and “preferential.”

Ventura Chief Building Office Andrew Stuffler, states that a citizen has two available avenues of appeal for parcel liens assessed and sent to the county tax collector:  the Ventura housing appeals board and the Ventura City Council.

Current data show a higher than normal number of homeowners who have been foreclosed or are going through a short sale after being placed on a lien list for unpaid fees and penalties.  However, Stuffler claims that Ventura’s process is similar to other cities

The City of Ventura has had laws concerning citations since 1998 but these laws were not enforced until 2007.  In 2011, these laws were put on hold for a public review, resulting in an amnesty provision.  This year, the city has resumed its proactive code enforcement called “Neighborhood Preservation.”

Currently, there are 15 homeowners on the lien list that must make payment by July 5th.  Further action will be taken if payments are not paid by Aug. 7th.

 

PROPOSED INITIATIVE TO EXTEND BUILDING AMNESTY

Ventura City Council members considered and then rejected a “Safe City Initiative” which would have extended the City Building Amnesty and Legalization Program for another two years allowing for known non-compliant structures to remain standing for the additional time.

The intent of the “Safe City Initiative” is to make it less risky to come forward if you had a non-compliant residence while allowing those behind in their payments to “catch up” or receive a “fresh start” in repayments.

OTHER ISSUES

  • The University of California is selling farmland acreage at the corner of Telephone and Saticoy that has been zoned for residential townhomes and parks and includes affordable farmworker housing.
  • The contractor for Ventura’s Visitor and Convention Bureau came before the Ventura City Council to give a presentation of its accomplishments and request a five year contract. A one year extension was granted.
  • The Ventura City Council approved a comprehensive water resources report which can be used to analyze future growth requirements.

Susan Aquino is the Treasurer of the Ventura County Libertarian Party and a former Human Resources Specialist and Postmaster for the United States Postal Service.

One Response to Ventura City Council moves forward to enforce fees and penalties

  1. Jenn July 19, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    This is Agenda 21 at work. Removing local control – and allowing politicians to be utterly unaccountable to the public.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *