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Appeal Filed Over Downtown Condos

November 08, 2000|GAIL DAVIS

An environmental group has appealed the city Planning Commission's approval of a condominium project proposed for land just east of Libbey Park.

The Los Arboles project, which would be built on about three acres on South Montgomery Street, would place 23 expensive condos in Ojai's downtown.

Proponents say the project would spare open space from development, bring a rundown urban block back to life and allow residents to walk to nearby shops, thereby reducing traffic.

But opponents maintain that the densely packed condos would overwhelm the neighborhood, look ugly from Libbey Park and cater to rich people who would continue to use their cars.

A City Council vote on the project was scheduled for late November or early December, but the appeal will delay a vote until the council can schedule a hearing on the appeal.

Ivor Benci-Woodward, a board member of Citizens to Preserve the Ojai, said the group's appeal focuses on concerns about the project's suitability to the neighborhood and whether it would bring more traffic than stated in an environmental study.

Bill Prince, the city's community development director, said the study acknowledges that the project could add traffic, but lists ways to counteract that, such as van pools.

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