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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Ventura

Voters to Decide Farmland-Park Issue

August 02, 2000|GAIL DAVIS

The City Council will let voters decide in November the fate of 100 acres of farmland it wants to turn into a sports park.

Council members voted 6 to 0 Monday night to place a zoning change on the fall ballot. Councilman Jim Monahan, who lives near the proposed park, abstained because of a potential conflict of interest.

If voters decide to change the property's zoning from agricultural to parkland, the city would purchase the land at Telephone and Kimball roads for $5.9 million. The city would then develop a park--including soccer fields, baseball diamonds and a community center and pool--in phases.

This will be the city's first test of its SOAR growth-control ordinance, which voters passed in 1995. Last fall, voters approved a rezoning of 26 acres of farmland west of the intersection of Montgomery Avenue and Bristol Road, owned by the First Assembly of God Church, which plans to build sports fields and an auditorium.

Some residents complained to the council about the purchase price, saying that $59,000 an acre was too high, when other properties in the area are routinely appraised for $30,000 to $35,000 an acre.

Jim Walker, the city's community services director, said the site is worth more because of added storm drains, curbs, nearby traffic signals and a well drilled in 1993.

Diana Slagowski, who lives in the Todd Ranch condominium complex southwest of the proposed sports park, said she worried about pedestrians' safety on Ramelli Avenue if the park were built.

Though an environmental study of the park project said not enough new traffic would be generated to require the street to be widened to four lanes, Slagowski said the road is already a dangerous thoroughfare.

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