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Ventura County Focus | West County / SOMIS

Meeting Planned on Widening of 118

April 28, 1998|DAWN HOBBS

The proposed widening of the California 118 will be the focus of a forum Thursday hosted by the Las Posas Citizens Committee.

Members of an ad-hoc group will provide an update on a state Department of Transportation proposal that could include straightening curves and adding two lanes near Mesa School and widening the intersection of California 118 and 34 from two to six lanes.

Thursday's meeting--at 7:30 p.m. in the Somis Elementary School auditorium--will serve as preparation for the next meeting between Caltrans officials and Las Posas Valley residents, perhaps next month.

Caltrans officials met with residents in March 1996 and July 1997 regarding their plans. But complaints that officials did not address residents' concerns about growth prompted Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) to ask for another meeting.

Residents have long been in favor of improving the safety of the rural highway that runs through their community, but oppose its expansion because they fear that will pave the way for growth.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if Caltrans is successful in their reconfiguration that it is easier for development to occur and will ultimately lead to the demise of agriculture," said Barbara Kerkhoff, member of the citizens committee.

Meanwhile, a proposal for a 24-hour gas station that committee members opposed in November resurfaced last week. Shell Oil Co. has refiled its request to build and operate a food market and two-pump station at California 118 and Somis Road, a plan that would require a zone change from agricultural to commercial development.

The committee will probably discuss the Shell Oil request and another development proposal at its meeting next month. Kotake Trust also filed a request last week to convert 191 acres of agricultural land to 20, two-acre custom home parcels and a 145-acre golf course. The Ventura County Planning Division will accept written comments on both General Plan amendment requests until June 23.

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