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Moorpark Rezones Site for Urgent Care Center

Downtown: The agreement prohibits certain businesses on the property where a dentist hopes to open a health facility.

May 08, 1997|DAVID R. BAKER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

MOORPARK — Capping negotiations more time-consuming than a root canal, the Moorpark City Council finalized a deal Wednesday to rezone a piece of downtown land on which a local dentist hopes to build an urgent care center.

Council members took the step after reaching an agreement with the property's owners and Moorpark resident DeeWayne Jones, who has a dental practice in Santa Paula, that will ban certain types of businesses from the site.

"It's been a long time coming," said Councilman John Wozniak. "It'll be a good thing for the city."

Jones must now win city approval of his designs for the center, which will also include offices, shops and restaurants. And he must find a health care provider willing to operate the medical facility.

Although eager to see an urgent care center open in Moorpark--the city currently does not have one--council members at first viewed the requested zoning change with hesitation.

The four-acre property, sandwiched between a neighborhood and a shopping center, had been zoned for residential development only.

City leaders worried that if they rezoned the land to allow commercial development, and Jones' project somehow fell through, another developer might use the property to build, say, a tire store or feed lot--businesses allowed under commercial zoning but considered inappropriate for the location by city officials.

That concern led council members to create a multistep process for granting the zoning change. They tentatively agreed to the change in March, but postponed completing the deal until they could draft an agreement with Jones and the landowners that would list acceptable uses for the land.

Among the uses prohibited on the site are taverns or nightclubs, hotels, carwashes, garages, lumber yards, lots for selling recreational vehicles or boats or cattle feed. The agreement specifically allows all the uses Jones has proposed, along with such businesses as art galleries, jewelry stores and a bank.

The finished agreement binds the land's current and future owners, giving the city the protection it sought.

"It provides all the things I wanted, everything the council directed, so I'm satisfied," said Mayor Pat Hunter.

For Moorpark residents, Jones' proposed facility could provide better access to doctors, both for appointments and on a walk-in basis. It would not, however, mean a shorter ambulance trip during emergencies.

Because the urgent care center would not include an emergency room, the local ambulance service would still whisk injured residents out of town for treatment at hospitals in Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley.

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