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Arts Center Question to Be on Thousand Oaks Ballot

February 11, 1986|THOMAS OMESTAD | Times Staff Writer

Thousand Oaks voters will be asked in the June primary if the city should build a $22.3-million performing arts center, under a measure approved Monday night by the City Council. The ballot question will be non-binding.

Before unanimously sending the question to voters, the council endorsed recommendations of the Cultural Center Planning Committee. The 121-member, council-appointed group urged the building of an 1,800-seat main theater that could be partitioned for smaller audiences, a 299-seat theater with flexible staging, a 15,000-square- foot art gallery, an outdoor amphitheater seating 250 and three "feeder" theaters at area high schools.

Draw From Two Counties

The committee said the campuslike complex would attract patrons from throughout Ventura and western Los Angeles counties.

The group favored building the arts complex on the driving range at Los Robles Golf Course. The cost was estimated at $19.6 million, not including the three "feeder" high school theaters.

The second-ranked site was a privately owned parking lot east of The Oaks shopping mall. But the cost of building there was estimated at $34.1 million because of the need for replacing mall parking.

City redevelopment funds would pay for construction. But, under state law, the funds could not be used to cover operating deficits, which a consultant estimated would exceed $700,000 in the first years.

Hotel-Tax Rise Considered

At the special meeting Monday, Mayor Alex T. Fiore said he might support increasing the city's hotel tax from 7% to 10% to cover any shortfalls.

Under the measure, the council would consider building an arts complex at the shopping mall only if the land were donated.

The council's action may trigger a petition drive to place a tandem measure on the June ballot that would require a $10-million endowment before construction could begin. Richard D. Booker, a community activist who opposes the use of redevelopment funds for the center, said the council's vote would probably prompt him to lead a petition drive.

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