A Woodland Hills development company persuaded the Oxnard City Council Tuesday to grant it the exclusive right to buy and develop Ormond Beach. Two other developers claimed they had been improperly excluded from consideration.
After heated debate, council members voted unanimously to sell 127 inland acres of the largely undeveloped beach front to Pacific Vista Development Co. for $12.75 million. The company also won an option to buy the remaining 214 acres that the city is poised to acquire in 11 months for $23 million.
Pacific Vista's plan would take up 1,800 acres and include residential, commercial and light-industrial development along a marina with a 133-acre golf course, 56 acres of undeveloped wetlands and 53 acres of public beach.
"It's everything we would like to have seen there," said Community Development Director Richard Maggio.
Larry White, an Oxnard developer, objected Tuesday that local developers had not been given adequate notice of the city's plans to sell Ormond Beach. But City Councilwoman Dorothy P. Maron said Oxnard's plans had been "well known within the development community."
And Los Angeles developer John P. Hagen, who once had planned an amusement park at Ormond Beach, contended Tuesday he still had an option to purchase the property. City officials disputed his claim, saying his option had expired last year.
The city had been seeking a buyer since last spring for the property, which is considered difficult to develop because it spans environmentally fragile wetlands and is encircled by a sewage-treatment plant, a power plant and several factories.
The 341 acres also borders a street that is widely known as the city's red-light district and drug trafficking hub.
Pacific Vista officials, led by former Ventura County Supervisor Edwin Jones, claimed also to have acquired options to purchase "numerous" properties surrounding the Ormond Beach site, especially farmlands to the east.
Jones argued that Pacific Vista had demonstrated a commitment to the property by spending 11 months on plans for the development, which city officials would be 10 to 15 years in the making.
At least two major issues remain unresolved, however.
One is the fate of Halaco, an aluminum recycling plant whose dumping pond has spawned suits from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the California Coastal Commission and Ventura County.
Hagen said he has reached an agreement to buy Halaco and plans to proceed with the purchase. Jones, meanwhile, said that Pacific Vista has a "tentative option" to buy the recycler.
The other issue is whether light industry would locate in the Ormond Beach area at the expense of other areas in the city that are vying for it, as a Los Angeles consultant hired by the city warned at Tuesday's meeting.