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THOUSAND OAKS : City Seeks Ordinances Protecting Open Space


Moving to formalize a longstanding policy, the Thousand Oaks City Council has directed staff to draft ordinances outlining the city's commitment to preserve open space and wetlands.

One proposed ordinance would require the council to hold a public hearing before selling or leasing any city-owned land zoned as open space. Together with the Conejo Recreation and Park District, the city holds title to about 10,000 acres of undeveloped parkland.

"This is the least we can do to ensure the permanent protection of open space--make sure that residents have a voice," Councilwoman Elois Zeanah said in support of the public hearing requirement.

The second proposal would set forth the city's definition of wetlands and would alert developers that they may face stringent restrictions about building on parcels containing streams, marshes, pools or flood plains.

Councilman Alex Fiore expressed concern that the wetlands ordinance would simply "pile another set of regulations" on top of existing state and federal codes. "I don't know of anything bad or untoward that has happened to our wetlands in the absence of an ordinance," he said.

But other council members argued that developers would be well-served by a municipal code outlining Thousand Oaks' policies about wetland preservation.

Several major projects, including the Cohan and Raznick developments in Newbury Park, have been held up for years in part because of disputes about building on wetlands and in flood plains.

Once they are drafted, both ordinances must come before the City Council for a public hearing.

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