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VENTURA : Greenbelt Petition Threatens Land Sale

October 03, 1994|CONSTANCE SOMMER

A save-the-greenbelt petition recently submitted to Ventura City Hall could hamper the city's efforts to appraise its eastside lemon orchard and market it for development, city officials said.

The City Council will decide tonight whether to order an appraisal of the property and hire a consultant to write a formal request for development proposals, which the city would then send to prospective builders.

Council members have said they will allow a developer to construct 400 houses on the 87-acre parcel at Telegraph Road and Petit Avenue if the developer donates land and seed money for a large eastside park.

But the lemon orchard is on land designated for agricultural use until 2010, and the petition could make it difficult for the city to develop it and any other land within the agricultural greenbelt.

The initiative would give city voters the responsibility for approving development on any property designated as agricultural until 2010.

Currently, to permit development on the orchard, the council has to order an amendment of the city's Comprehensive Plan.

The petition is in the hands of Ventura County elections officials, who are checking to see if it has enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the November, 1995, ballot.

Some council members said Friday they do not think the petition should prevent them from going forward with marketing the property.

"I don't think we should put the city on hold while we wait for something that may never happen," said Councilman Jim Monahan.

Mayor Tom Buford said that, if the initiative makes the ballot, the city would simply inform potential developers of its existence.

"You might be in the position of telling people that they'll do all this, and it might all be for naught," he said. "But developers are used to that anyway."

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