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Hidden Creek Project Headed for Ballot

November 19, 1998|ANDY SAMUELSON

Voters will indeed have a chance to decide in January whether to prohibit building the largest development in Moorpark history just outside city limits.

On Wednesday, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Hutchins made final his tentative decision of a day earlier to deny a lawsuit by the Hidden Creek Ranch developers to invalidate the referendum against the proposed development. The project calls for 3,221 units on 4,300 acres outside the city's northern boundary.

Glen Reiser, the lawyer who represents the developer, Messenger Investment Co. of Costa Mesa, said he plans to file an appeal with the state Court of Appeal next week.

Reiser argued that the referendum was invalid because it would place the city's General Plan out of compliance with the Hidden Creek Ranch zoning ordinance.

Hutchins agreed with Richard Francis, the lawyer for the referendum leaders, saying the referendum would actually have the opposite result--placing the zoning ordinance out of compliance with the General Plan, which is not a violation of state law.

Supporters of the referendum have been lobbying for a citywide vote to decide the future of Hidden Creek since last summer, when they began collecting signatures for the Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources initiative.

The city version of SOAR, which also will be on the Jan. 12 ballot, would force developers seeking to build outside the city's current boundary to first obtain voter approval.

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