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West Ventura County Focus

VENTURA : Response Lukewarm to Proposed Initiative

November 09, 1994|CONSTANCE SOMMER

A Ventura councilman's proposal to add a city initiative to next November's ballot has met with lukewarm enthusiasm from his colleagues, at least one of whom said he would like to know more about the idea before he supported it.

Councilman Steve Bennett proposed a ballot measure that would exempt a city lemon orchard from a save-the-greenbelt initiative--land that has been at the center of a tug of war between developers and preservationists.

Bennett brought his proposal before the council Monday night, but council members Rosa Lee Measures, Gregory L. Carson and Gary Tuttle could not vote on the issue because they have conflicts of interest. The remaining council members said they were not comfortable with the measure as it currently reads.

Councilman Jack Tingstrom said he wants to see a legal draft of the initiative before he makes a decision. "I want to wait and discuss it a little more," he said. "It'll come back."

The threat of development on the city-owned, 87-acre orchard was the reason nearby homeowners proposed the greenbelt initiative last spring. The measure would forbid development of any land designated agricultural until 2010, unless the project was put to a citywide vote.

The orchard, at the corner of Telegraph Road and Petit Avenue, carries the agricultural zoning and can only be developed if the council amends its Comprehensive Plan.

The greenbelt initiative is slated to be on the November, 1995, ballot. Bennett's measure would exempt the orchard from the greenbelt law as long as its development was linked to construction of a regional park--a major goal of the council. The council wants to use the orchard to help cut a deal for an eastside park, trading permission to develop homes on it for a park site.

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