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West Ventura County Focus

VENTURA : Street Project Inaction Called Costly to City

February 15, 1995|JEFF McDONALD

More than $1 million in potential tax revenue has been lost because the city has failed to widen the streets around the Ventura Auto Center, the complex's owner has told the City Council.

Car buyers are more likely to take their business to Oxnard or other cities where there is easier access to automobile dealerships, John Hofer said.

Hofer, who has offered to donate 25 acres of farmland to help build a minor league baseball stadium in Ventura, said he has waited years for the city to improve the roads around his business.

"Any (further) delay could result in the loss of additional sales tax revenue for this city," he said.

State engineers pushed back to 1999 a plan to improve the Ventura Freeway and Pacific Coast Highway junction, primarily because of retrofitting projects, city officials said.

City planners want to redesign surface streets around the auto center and the Santa Clara River Bridge while the state Department of Transportation makes highway improvements. But council members are getting impatient.

"The circulation plan is long past due," Councilman James Monahan said. "The car dealers have been very patient, even to their own detriment.

"It's unfair to say they now have to compete with some other (city-funded) projects," he said. "The baseball stadium is a serious consideration, but it should not be a factor in the traffic circulation plan."

Monahan and others predicted that car manufacturers sooner or later would require the dealerships to relocate to a more visible location.

Monday night, Hofer asked for and received permission to meet with city planners to work out plans for a comprehensive proposal to build the stadium and improve the streets around his business.

A report is due back next month.

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