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Growth Measure on Ballot

Santa Paula voters will decide today whether the city's sphere of influence will widen to allow the construction of up to 70 new homes.

June 03, 2003|Amanda Covarrubias | Times Staff Writer

Santa Paula voters will decide today whether to expand the boundary of land that can be developed in the city's environs to include a 32.5-acre parcel on the west side of town.

The Ventura County registrar of voters estimates a turnout of 16% to 18% on Measure A, the latest growth-related issue to hit the ballot in a county with some of the most restrictive development laws in the nation.

Developer Scott Anderson has proposed to build 60 to 70 single-family homes on land north of Foothill Road and west of Peck Road. The parcel lies outside city limits but within Santa Paula's sphere of influence, and is next to residential neighborhoods.

Santa Paula's anti-sprawl law restricts development to areas within its "urban restriction boundary," and Measure A would extend that boundary to include the project site. However, its passage would not guarantee that the project could proceed, because the City Council would still have to annex the land and approve the project, said City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.

Opponents of Measure A say there is no detailed plan for voters to consider and that it could lead to more development in adjoining Adams Canyon.

Supporters say the measure is consistent with the Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources initiative approved by Santa Paula voters in 2000, because the property is neither in a greenbelt nor on flat farmland and is connected to established neighborhoods.

Anderson gathered the signatures required to place the initiative on the ballot.

As of Monday, 771 absentee ballots had been returned on Measure A out of 1,268 sent to voters, said Deputy County Clerk Virginia Bloom.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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