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Redevelopment Plan Clarification Sought


City officials want business and property owners to know that they would not have to redevelop their sites under the proposed midtown redevelopment plan.

The council will consider adopting a resolution affirming that stance tonight. Council members want the resolution passed before voters decide the fate of the Midtown Corridor Redevelopment Plan, known as Measure A, on the June 8 ballot.

Measure A opponents aren't convinced.

"Every time they say it's voluntary, we think it's false," said Katherine Heiberg, a member of Ventura Citizens Against Redevelopment Excesses.

Heiberg referred to a section in the redevelopment plan that requires property owners within the redevelopment corridor--bordered by Thompson Boulevard, Main Street, Telegraph Road and the Buenaventura Mall--to sign a "participation" agreement before making property improvements or buying additional midtown property.

"I just want the facts out there," Heiberg said Friday.

Economic Development Manager David Kleitsch said the facts are out there: The plan is voluntary, with no government power to wrest control of private property. He said opponents are ignoring the city's view that the word "voluntary" takes precedence in the plan.

"We're taking the explicit action to reaffirm that," Kleitsch said, referring to the proposed resolution.

Both sides have cited confusion over the $74-million fix-up plan for midtown. Former Councilman Gary Tuttle, a member of the Chamber of Commerce-backed "Yes on Measure A" campaign, asked the council last month to strike two paragraphs from the plan discussing voluntary participation because of ambiguous wording.

In response, City Atty. Bob Boehm drafted the resolution. There is not enough time to amend the plan before the June 8 vote, he said.

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