Oxnard officials have thrown their support behind a 79-acre site at Ormond Beach in a renewed effort to win the new California State University branch slated for Ventura County.
City Council members unanimously agreed Tuesday to lobby for the city-owned site, originally bought for a proposed sludge treatment plant, at a Cal State meeting Dec. 2. The meeting will consider possible locations for the university academic center.
"The race is on," said Ken Hampian, assistant to Oxnard City Manager David Mora.
However, City Council members stopped short of supporting Councilwoman Dorothy Maron's proposal to donate the $1.4-million parcel of agricultural land near a proposed marina complex in Oxnard's south end.
"I want desperately to have a university," said Councilwoman Ann Johs, an opponent of the proposed land donation. "But we're not that wealthy . . . and there are things of greater priority."
In June, 1986, Cal State trustees had sought proposals for the university branch, which is expected to serve 2,000 to 3,000 students. A committee to find a site for expansion of the University Center in Ventura had singled out a 110-acre site of agricultural land near Ventura Harbor. Negotiations with the Lusk Co., which owns the property, failed, and the committee once again solicited proposals for a new location.
Study for Taylor Ranch
Also in a bid for the new facility, which eventually could become the county's first four-year public university, the City of Ventura has commissioned a $25,000 study on the feasibility of locating the university facility on a coastal bluff of the Taylor Ranch in West Ventura.
Jack Smart, Cal State deputy provost, said Tuesday that he expected the committee to receive "two or three" proposals from individuals seeking the university facility for Camarillo. However, Smart said that he has received no indication that Camarillo city officials plan to make a formal bid.
The committee has said it wants a 100-acre location between Ventura and Camarillo.
Still at issue is how the university would acquire the remaining 21 acres required for the expansion if it selects the Ormond Beach site. Hampian said city officials had asked Pacific Vista Development Co., the company developing the marina and resort complex, to donate the land but the company refused.
The Ormond Beach site, bounded by Hueneme and Casper roads, was selected over four other sites proposed by the city staff, including a 430-acre northwest Oxnard site owned by Agricultural Land Services, a Somis company that plans to offer to donate 100 acres for the expansion.
City officials argued that supporting the Agricultural Land Services proposal, which calls for development of surrounding property, would limit their bargaining power in controlling growth at the proposed site on agricultural land bounded by Gonzales Road and Victoria Avenue.
"We'd be at the mercy of the developer," Councilman Michael Plisky said.