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Simi Valley, Moorpark Development Policies Already Set : Growth Curbs to Cause Few Changes

November 06, 1986|REGINALD SMITH AND SAM ENRIQUEZ | Times Staff Writers

Development in Moorpark and Simi Valley is not expected to change dramatically, despite the fact that voters in both cities answered the call for growth control by approving measures aimed at curbing building.

Tuesday's passage of Measure F, a growth-control measure limiting home-building in Moorpark, will probably have no immediate effect because of the record number of building permits that has been issued already this year, city officials said.

With the adoption of Measures A and B, voters in Simi Valley were merely putting their stamp of approval on 3-month-old city laws to control growth by limiting the number of building permits issued and protecting the hillsides against development.

But slow-growth advocates in both cities say they may seek changes to add more building restrictions than the new laws allow.

In Moorpark, newly elected City Councilman Clint Harper, who was a member of the citizens' committee that put the slow-growth measure on the ballot, said he will seek council approval to rescind some of the building permits that have been issued.

"I want at least for the city attorney to review the case law on it," Harper said.

Harper, who along with Eloise Brown won a four-year seat on the City Council, said the defeat of pro-growth incumbent City Council members Leta Yancy-Sutton and Albert Prieto and the passage of Measure F indicate that residents want an end to the level of development that has made Moorpark one of the fastest growing cities in the state.

John Galloway, who also supported the slow-growth initiative, won election to a two-year council seat.

With the addition of Harper and Galloway, slow-growth advocates dominate the Moorpark City Council. Brown, who did not publicly support any of the measures, said before the election that she would support strict growth-control policies if Measure F passed.

Measure F will limit the issuance of residential building permits to 250 a year. Voters cast 2,267 votes for and 1,896 voted against it.

A competing, but less strict, growth referendum, Measure H, was defeated by voters. That measure would have limited the number of building permits that could be issued to an average of 411 a year over 10 years.

But developers have been issued more than 2,350 building permits in Moorpark since January, nearly five times the yearly average since the city was incorporated in 1983. When completed, those planned developments will add about 8,000 residents to this city of 16,000 over the next several years.

Unless the City Council agrees to rescind most of those building permits, the effects of the new Moorpark growth-control measure will not be felt for at least another three to four years, Harper predicted.

Voters in Moorpark also defeated Measure G, a development agreement between the city and Urban West Communities, a Santa Monica-based developer, for a 2,500-unit housing tract. But Urban West representative Tom Zanic said that his firm has enough building permits now to continue construction on the project for at least another 18 months.

The development agreement rejected by voters called for the firm to be exempted from any city growth-control measures, such as Measure F. Now, the development will be required to go before the City Council for its share of the 250 building permits that will be allocated each year.

Simi Valley voters had a choice between a set of growth measures backed by the City Council and a competing pair proposed by a slow-growth citizens' group. The voters sided with the council.

The council's Measure A, which limits building permits for the next 10 years, was endorsed by 64.8% of the voters. Its companion, Measure B, which places curbs on hillside development, won with 66.2% of the vote.

The stricter Measure D, which also sought to limit the number of building permits issued, was rejected by 58.2% of the voters. A tough hillside preservation proposal, Measure E, lost on a 57.6% "no" vote.

Some proponents of Measures A and B say they may have had outside help in defeating the more restrictive growth measures. An Indiana developer warned at a press conference and later in a mailer sent to city voters that approval of Measures D and E would force him to abandon plans to build an enclosed mall in Simi Valley.

Since Simi adopted ordinances identical to the intent of Measures A and B three months ago, the voters' approval of those measures had little effect.

"Nothing really changes," said Greg Stratton, a councilman who was elected Simi's new mayor on Tuesday. "We'll continue to do what we have been doing."

But slow-growth advocates said that, although Measure A is a strict grow-control tool, Measure B has loopholes that allow development of several major tracts nestled in the city's hillsides.

Louis Pandolfi, a slow-growth advocate, said his colleagues may go back to the ballot next year with a measure aimed at plugging such loopholes.

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