Westlake- Miller Ranch Project Comes Closer to Realization

Miller RanchBy Daniel Gelman

“So often, pharm especially at the federal level right now, pharmacy we see people not coming together and not finding solutions,” said Thousand Oaks City Councilmember Jacqui Irwin at the council meeting on Tuesday, January 14. She was referring to the finalization of an agreement between KSK Development of Studio City, and Westlake North Property Owners’ Association in the North Ranch neighborhood of Thousand Oaks. The negotiations took 4.5 years and concerned the future development of the 27.29 acre former Miller Ranch at 2000 Upper Ranch Road, just north of Kanan Road. The ranch is one of the last remaining open space areas in Thousand Oaks available for development. (Photo provided by City of Thousand Oaks)

The resolution which involved some zoning issues and tree removal passed 4-0 with Mayor Andy Fox absent. Fox, an L.A. City Fireman and professional mediator was instrumental in the conflict resolution process that helped seal the deal. The developer will build 13 single family homes in a gated environment. LC Engineering of Thousand Oaks helped expedite the process and will be involved with all the project engineering. It’s a family owned company that’s been in business since 1980.

The ranch was originally owned by local pioneers Patricia and Martin Miller. Patricia’s maiden name was Russell, as she was part of the founding family of the territory that became Westlake Village. The land remained an island of unincorporated county space while the Millers dwelt there. Their heirs sold to KSK.

MillerRanchIllustr

In order for the project to begin officially, the City of Thousand Oaks must now annex the parcel. This requires approval from a regulatory entity called the Ventura Local Agency Formation Commission. (LAFCO) LAFCO’S implement state and local policies related to boundary changes for cities.

According to Leonard Liston, President of LC Engineering Group, the project may get under way in 6-8 months. The developer is required to finish the first five houses within 18 months. The rest are not restricted by time constraints and may depend upon market conditions. The plan includes a greenbelt-like zone on seven acres to create a buffer between the new gated home community and the neighbors. Another 2.5 acres will remain as open space.

MillerRanchSite

Above: Site plan (Source/Zoom)

“When we were here a year ago, there was no common ground at all between the residents and the developers. I really want to thank the residents first for being willing to come back to the table and Mr. Fox for his outstanding mediation,” added Irwin.

She also commended the developers. “You were willing to give a lot to get this done.” In conclusion Councilmember Irwin reemphasized her belief that this process can serve as an example for similar situations elsewhere. “It’s just a model of how government, residents, and the private sector should work together to come to a solution that’s in the best interest of everybody involved.”

But both Councilmember Claudia Bill de la Pena and Mayor Pro Tem Al Adam added measured comments about the need to get as much done in the way of mediation before coming to the council. “It did need the help of the city and the mediation did come at a price for the city. I personally think that we should not always be in the mediation business unless it is a really urgent matter,” said Bill de la Pena.

Mayor Pro Tem Al Adam added a similar train of thought. “We spent a lot of staff time on this. It took way longer than most land use projects take. This is an in-fill project and they are always contentious. There are existing neighbors who are not always going to be pleased. The lesson here is that if you’re going to develop what little left of Thousand Oaks there is to develop, you’ve got to do your homework with the neighbors. Before you come before us, it’s really wise to have worked out as much as possible with the surrounding neighborhood. I think ultimately it turned out great.”

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Miller Ranch Environmental Impact Report: (EIR): http://www.toaks.org/government/depts/community/Documents/Environmental%20Documents/DEIR330-MillerRanch-Part%201.pdf

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  • Meeting Info
Date Duration  
January 14, 2014 04h 42m Agenda MP3 Audio Video

Applicable section from meeting recap:

  • Conducted public hearing regarding Miller Ranch Project; certified Final Environmental Impact Report No. 330; adopted Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program; introduced ordinance to approve Pre-Zoning Application to establish City zoning applicable upon annexation of subject property consisting of RPD-0.5U–SFD (Residential Planned Development 0.5 dwellings per net acre – Single Family Detached); adopted resolutions to approve Tentative Tract Map, Residential Planned Development Permit, Oak Tree Permit, and Landmark Tree Permit, all to become effective only upon effective date of annexation of property to City

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Daniel Gelman has been a Reporter/Writer for several years, specializing in News, Business, Feature, and Op-Ed.

 

Related story: http://www.venturacountytrails.org/WP/2012/11/08/north-ranch-residents-upset-with-proposal-to-build-14-luxury-homes/

 

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One Response to Westlake- Miller Ranch Project Comes Closer to Realization

  1. William "Bill" Hicks January 22, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Just to get some flavor of who De la Pena and Adam are coming from let me make mention that they come from a group of people that are not necessarily friendly toward any development.
    De La Pena is a slow growther and Adam is/was part of SOAR. You would think that “mediation” would be their cup of tea when it comes to “infilling projects” as that is a method of not encroaching on open space. Maybe, any form of development that is not slow enough for De La Pena or offers Wildlife Corridors for Adam are anathema to their thought process or agenda.

    Reply

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