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Ventura County Perspective

Ahmanson Ranch Plan

November 29, 1998

Re "County Moves Forward on Ahmanson Ranch Plan," Nov. 25.

Oh no, here we go again. The Ahmanson Ranch development gets another go-ahead from the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. The merry-go-round is just coming around again.

Never mind the new information--toxic chemicals found on the ranch this month by a research team of scientists commonly used by local attorney Edward Masry.

And never mind the other new information--that the proposed development will siphon water from beneath the land donated to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. That's just icing on the cake.

The real story is that the supervisors still haven't learned their lesson, still haven't a clue.

On the same day Ventura County supervisors were wasting their breath in front of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors trying to save their citizens from the urban onslaught of the ominous Newhall Ranch proposed city, opponents of Ahmanson Ranch were wasting their breath in front of the same Ventura County supervisors regarding Ahmanson's urban sprawl.

One would think, given the popularity of the recent Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources initiatives, the supervisors would simply let the development die of its own lawsuit weight, only to reincarnate as a "voter-approved" development under SOAR in 1999. But no, the supervisors, apparently feeling snubbed by the taking away of the land-use power, wanted to hold on to the last remnants of their egos in the form of a 3,000-home, cookie-cutter development. Sadly, Ahmanson Ranch seems to have been just too late for the SOAR life preserver.

The good news: The Ahmanson Ranch development agreement will run out (again) in the middle of December, giving this beautiful area one more chance at life. And let's hope some sense will invade the supervisors, given the lesson they have (or I guess haven't) learned from their Newhall Ranch experience.

VINCE CURTIS, Assistant Director, Save Open Space, Thousand Oaks

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