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Thousand Oaks Panel OKs Plan for 13 Upscale Homes

Development: Some Newbury Park neighbors say the houses would enhance the area, while others bemoan the possible loss of open space.


THOUSAND OAKS — In Newbury Park, urban development often means huge projects reshaping the community's edge--efforts like Dos Vientos, which would bring hundreds of homes, and the Seventh-day Adventist project, which would build a shopping center. But within the community's borders, the creation of smaller housing projects continues.

The Thousand Oaks Planning Commission, which rules on projects in Newbury Park, unanimously approved a proposal Monday to divide an eight-acre lot near the corner of Wendy and Kimber drives and build 13 single-family homes. The property, now a vacant lot owned by the Mormon Church next door, may soon sprout the kind of upscale one- and two-story houses that have shaped the small community of nearly 30,000.

The homes that Colmer Development Co. of Calabasas plans to build will sell for about $270,000, said company President Wayne Colmer. They will range in size from 2,001 to 2,150 square feet, with four bedrooms and three-car garages.

The project also would create a new 320-foot cul-de-sac emptying onto Kimber Drive, just across from Dewey Avenue.

The prospect of adding homes to the neighborhood drew mixed reactions from residents.

Phyllis Behar moved into a house on nearby Ravencrest Court last year, drawn by the area's quiet atmosphere. "What sold us was this open green space between us and the Mormon temple," she told commissioners Monday.

The new homes, she said, would destroy that atmosphere. "Thousand Oaks is going to look just like the Valley in 10 years," she said.

Marie Wyatt told the commissioners that the development would forever change the mountain view she enjoys from her home on Ravencrest. But she added that she was not opposed to the project itself, saying that she understood the property would be developed sooner or later.

"I knew that houses would be built in the area, because in my opinion, it's the right place for houses," she said.

Richard Lebby, a real estate appraiser who also lives on Ravencrest, said the new homes would enhance the neighborhood. He worried, however, that their price might be a bit high for the current market, noting that a similar home nearby recently sold for less than $210,000.

"If the houses are not priced right, then we could have 13 homes sitting there for a long time," he said.

Colmer Development's proposal isn't the first plan suggested to develop the lot.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tried 12 years ago to build a private baseball diamond on the site. Neighbors, however, objected to the noise such a facility could create, and the plan was eventually scrapped.

Now that the city has approved building the homes, Wayne Colmer said he hoped to break ground within the next four months. During that time, he will stay in touch with neighbors to answer any concerns they may have about the project, he said.

"I always try real hard to work with them," he said.

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