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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | MOORPARK

Hidden Creek Report Faces More Questions

January 09, 1998|REGINA HONG

Consultants who prepared an environmental report on the massive Hidden Creek Ranch project hope to answer lingering concerns about the document before bringing it to the Moorpark City Council for approval later this month.

The project would bring up to 3,200 homes and commercial development to 4,300 acres north of Moorpark College.

But an environmental report on the project, expected to go before the council Jan. 21, has raised concerns among council members.

Mayor Pat Hunter wants to know more about possible ground contamination in parts of the project area where no development is planned.

Consultants who wrote the environmental report will meet with the developer to decide what further testing can be done. Dana Privitt, the senior planner at BonTerra Consulting of Newport Beach, said little or no contamination has been found in areas to be developed.

Another concern, voiced by Councilman John Wozniak, is that the environmental report should call for more stringent measures to guard against "valley fever," an illness caused by airborne spores that can be kicked up by construction.

In rare cases, the disease can be fatal. According to the county's health department, there have been 288 cases of valley fever since 1994, most after the Northridge earthquake. Nine of those cases have occurred in Moorpark.

And in an effort to allay concerns of astronomers that light from the project will interfere with work at nearby Charles Temple Observatory, developers are working with Moorpark College to make changes to street lighting that will minimize nighttime glare.

No matter how well such concerns are answered, however, the project's final approval is far from assured, said Councilman Chris Evans.

"They have to show me that they will improve the quality of life, and they have yet to do that," Evans said. "I want to know how they will improve the lives of every single resident."

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