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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Supervisors Prepare to Turn SOAR Initiative Into Land-Use Policy

Growth: Flynn and Schillo are expected to be appointed to county panel that will oversee implementation of Measure B.

November 24, 1998|PAMELA J. JOHNSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Following passage of the landmark SOAR growth-control measure, the county Board of Supervisors today will begin the long and arduous process of turning the ballot initiative into a land-use policy.

Supervisors are expected to discuss the appointment of John Flynn and Frank Schillo, both of whom supported Measure B, to head an implementation committee.

The committee may also include farmers and environmentalists, as well as city and business leaders, Flynn said.

"It may boil down simply to the two members of the board and county staff," Flynn said.

But Supervisor Kathy Long said she has asked that final action on the item be delayed until next week. She and Flynn are scheduled to attend the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting today and will not be present at the meeting in Ventura.

"I have real concerns about this implementation committee and want to be present during the discussion," Long said Monday. L.A. County supervisors are taking up the mammoth 21,615-home Newhall Ranch housing project, a matter of concern to many Ventura County business and political leaders.

Passing with nearly 63% of the vote, the Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources measure prevents politicians from rezoning farmland and open space without voter approval.

Members of the county committee will also decide which parts of Measure A, a growth-control advisory initiative, should be implemented.

Measure A, which received nearly 69% of the vote, allows local leaders to adopt recommendations by the Agriculture Policy Working Group, a panel of farmers, environmentalists, building industry representatives and business leaders, who examined farmland preservation issues for more than a year.

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The working group recommended:

* A two-year moratorium on changes to the exterior boundaries of the county's 10 cities until urban growth boundaries are set.

* Adopting by ordinance the six existing and five proposed greenbelts, which are described in the county General Plan, as boundaries that would permanently separate the cities and stop urban sprawl.

* Establishing an Open Space Conservation District, which would receive public and private funds, to buy and preserve open space and farmland.

Some of the provisions in the two measures may overlap, Flynn said. For instance, there may be no need for a development moratorium with the passage of the more restrictive Measure B.

"We have to look at whether or not it's necessary," Flynn said.

But Schillo said it may take two years or more to set up the urban growth boundaries, which must be approved in each city by the Local Agency Formation Commission.

Supervisors will also discuss whether to use a $25,000 grant from the Hansen Trust for a survey to sample public opinion on growth.

But both Flynn and Schillo said such a survey may be unnecessary.

"The vote represented a public opinion poll, and I don't know if we need another one," Flynn said.

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Schillo and Flynn emphasized, however, that the committee meetings will be open to the public.

"Our intention is to implement Measure B exactly how the voters are mandating," Flynn said.

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