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Ventura County News Roundup

THOUSAND OAKS : Chumash Activists Agree to Drop Suit

June 13, 1991|JANE HULSE

Chumash Indian activists, fighting to preserve ancient Indian artifacts on a site approved for development, settled their lawsuit against the city of Thousand Oaks and a developer Wednesday.

The California Indian Council-Chumash sued the city and Shapell Industries last month to stop a large development, Rancho Conejo, from being built on the former MGM Ranch.

The Indian group contended that the development would destroy one of the most significant archeological sites in the Conejo Valley. The site, 5,000 to 6,000 years old, may be a burial ground, Indian officials say.

The Chumash group agreed to drop the lawsuit in exchange for assurances by the city and the developer that the site will be preserved. Shapell also agreed to create a $50,000 scholarship fund for Indian students.

Thousand Oaks City Atty. Mark Sellers said that preserving the one-acre site will mean that the alignment of a road in the proposed development will be changed.

Shapell Industries' Rancho Conejo development calls for the construction of 1,000 houses, 400 apartments and a 102-acre industrial park at the former MGM Ranch north of the Ventura Freeway.

The Sierra Club is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, and no settlement has been reached between the club and the defendants, Sellers said. He said both sides will meet Wednesday to try to resolve the remainder of the lawsuit.

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