Seeking to attract more growth to Ventura County's most populated city, the Oxnard City Council today is scheduled to consider cutting by 50% the fee it charges developers for traffic mitigation.
Steve Kinney, the city's economic development director, is recommending the council approve a resolution that cuts the $348-per-trip cost to just under $174 per daily vehicle trip generated by new projects.
Kinney said the one-time fees, which have more than tripled since 1988, are inhibiting development within the city in a weak economy.
"The concern is that this level of fee serves as a distinct barrier to attracting new industry to Oxnard at a time when that very objective is a top priority to the city," Kinney wrote to council members.
Although the reduction would cost the city an estimated $43 million over the next 27 years, including $675,000 this year alone, the proposal has some support among council members.
Councilman Michael Plisky said cutting the fee in half would be "correcting bad policy" approved by earlier councils.
Mayor Manuel Lopez said the reduction would spur growth. "The amount we're charging is so high that in today's economy it kills everything," he said.
But the plan concerns Eleanor Branthoover, chairwoman of the Rio Lindo Neighborhood Council.
"I'm all for attracting good, clean manufacturing jobs, not retail jobs that pay minimum wage," she said. "I would like to see jobs that pay a livable salary, so people can afford the homes here."
Branthoover also said the council should make sure levels of service do not suffer because of any fee reduction.
"This area suffered for so many years with bad traffic conditions, and we still haven't rectified all of the problems," she said.