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VENTURA COUNTY PERSPECTIVE

Oxnard's Smart Incentives

September 17, 2000

Thumbs up to Oxnard for offering incentives to those who build new homes or offices on vacant lots in blighted neighborhoods, rather than in the city's outlying or agricultural areas. That's one key to making the most of existing roads and utility lines, protecting farmland from development and improving existing neighborhoods--all at the same time.

With so many advantages, why aren't more projects proposed for spaces in the current cityscape rather than sprawl at the urban fringe?

Mainly because it costs more to build them, and that's why it makes sense for the city to offer fee waivers and other financial incentives to encourage this desirable trend.

Most cities in Ventura County offer loans, grants or other help to investors who want to build in designated redevelopment areas. But Oxnard is the first to guarantee breaks for everyone who builds on in-fill lots of three acres or less in six targeted neighborhoods.

Growth is inevitable. To break the traditional pattern of sprawl that Ventura County voters have rejected with Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR) measures, smarter ways to use urban land must be found.

Oxnard's new incentive policy is a good example. Other cities should take similar steps.

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