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AGOURA HILLS : Entertainment Project Rejected

April 12, 1995|FRANK MANNING

The Agoura Hills Planning Commission has rejected a developer's application for an entertainment complex on the north side of the Ventura Freeway that would have included a go-cart track and miniature golf course.

Commissioners felt the project, at Canwood Street and Derry Avenue, would have fit in better in a proposed entertainment corridor on the south side of the freeway, said interim City Manager David Anderson.

Doug Honey, president of El Dorado Family Entertainment of Agoura Hills Inc., said his company is not interested in pursuing the matter any further.

"We don't see that the city is really interested in any development in that area," he said.

"We don't really see any interest over on the other side of the freeway, either, for that matter."

When they first heard the proposal, city officials said they suggested the project would have a better chance for approval if it were located on the south side of the freeway, in the entertainment corridor.

But the developer, city officials said, insisted on the site north of the freeway, saying it would be more visible from the freeway.

Mann Theatres, which operates a theater in the entertainment corridor, originally applied for permission to build a theater on the north side of the freeway, but was turned down, Anderson said.

The company, he said, reapplied for a facility in the entertainment corridor and the project was approved, and the theater operator now has plans for another facility in the corridor.

The Santa Barbara-based El Dorado's application included a go-cart racetrack, bumper boat pond and video arcade.

There was speculation that the project--coupled with the Mann Theatre complex--would have generated enough sales tax revenues to allow the city to do away with a utility tax passed by the City Council last year.

The utility tax sparked a recall movement against the entire council led by Barbara Murphy, a vocal critic of city government. She contends the city has discouraged businesses from locating in the city, which has hurt sales tax revenues and created the need for the utility tax.

Anderson said the city had once considered levying an entertainment tax on Mann Theatres, but then decided against it, fearing the movie chain would claim it was being singled out. Anderson said the city's legal counsel has advised that, even with the addition of another entertainment complex such as El Dorado, the city would still not be safe from "legal liabilities."

"Whatever the number, the more you have, the less likely you would be subjected to the legality of the ordinance," he said.

Anderson said that in any case, he doubts whether an entertainment tax would offset the need for a utility tax.

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