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Board Pushes Golf, Amphitheater Project

April 14, 1998|MIGUEL BUSTILLO

Ventura County's park advisory board vowed Monday to continue seeking a fast-track permit to build an amphitheater and golf course near Camarillo, despite hearing from the permitting agency that the project did not qualify.

The panel, which advises the Board of Supervisors on park issues, listened to county officials present a status report on the 16,000-seat amphitheater and 18-hole golf course at Camarillo Regional Park.

After months of communication between the two agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified county officials a month ago that the project was not eligible for the quick permit process. Instead, it would have to go through a more costly permit procedure requiring further environmental review, which could delay the project six months.

The decision surprised county officials, who believed they had met all conditions for a fast-track permit previously outlined by the corps, including filling three or fewer acres of wetlands.

County biologists are now preparing a response describing why the project near Calleguas Creek should not have to go through the longer process.

Board member Jeff Alexander said the county has gone too far to give up, or even scale back, the plan. He called for county leaders to take a more active role in calling the corps on the carpet for its apparent two-step.

"We've played by the rules," Alexander said. "Now they're trying to change them."

Board member Doris Lance said the county needs to do more to combat what she sees as growing public misinformation about the project.

She also expressed concern that the county may be too focused on building both the golf course and the amphitheater on the site, and may want to consider only one of the two.

But other board members said it is too early to consider such alternatives, and advocated sticking to the original plan.

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