Thousand Oaks must have a new wetlands ordinance, and that proposed by Mayor Elois Zeanah is our best chance. When this ordinance came before the City Council late last year, it was the subject of inappropriate and inaccurate comments by council members Frank Schillo, Judy Lazar and Alex Fiore.
This was difficult to understand because these council members claim they trust their staff, and staff pleaded strongly in support of the ordinance. Instead of supporting the draft ordinance, Schillo, Lazar and Fiore berated it as another layer of bureaucratic red tape. I believe it would have the opposite effect, and would clarify for developers what they can and cannot do on a given piece of land before they have spent time drawing plans that will not be approved.
I was also surprised by Councilman Fiore's statements that wetlands in Thousand Oaks have never been impacted by development. Mr. Fiore should take another look around his city. By way of example, one only needs to look at the northeast corner of Lynn Road and Wendy Drive. A lovely stream once ran along Wendy with trees and riparian wildlife. It is now 20 feet under concrete and houses.
Councilwoman Zeanah's new ordinance is overdue. Other cities already have similar ordinances. It is in line with Gov. Wilson's wetlands policy for the state of California, which calls not only for no further loss of wetlands but for wetlands restoration. Developers must respect the concerns of our community regarding these sensitive areas.