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Group Attacks High Street Plan

Petition seeks to rescind Moorpark's go-ahead for extending the road for a housing project.

October 08, 2003|Gregory W. Griggs | Times Staff Writer

A group of Moorpark residents concerned about the city's intent to alter a downtown thoroughfare for a planned housing development has taken the city and its council to court to get them to rescind last month's decision to extend High Street.

Calling itself the Committee to Preserve Historic High Street, the group retained a public interest law firm in Sonoma County to ask a Ventura County Superior Court judge to set aside a Sept. 3 council vote that changed the traffic component of the city's General Plan.

The petition, filed Monday, accuses the council of abusing its power and violating state environmental laws when it amended the city's principle planning document without first analyzing the environmental consequences of extending High Street from Moorpark Avenue west to Gabbert Road.

The petition requests a complete analysis of what the project would mean in terms of increasing traffic and noise, encouraging future development, changing the character of downtown and jeopardizing cultural and historic resources.

Attorney Susan Brant-Hawley, who filed the action, said council members had numerous questions after listening to concerns expressed by residents at last month's public hearing on the issue.

Brant-Hawley said city officials acknowledged that the proposed High Street extension was to accommodate Hitch Ranch, a 400- to 600-home development that has been discussed for more than a decade. No formal application has been submitted to the city. Councilman Clint Harper, calling the petition premature, said the city would plan a complete environmental review once it had a specific project to consider.

"Typically when you draw a line on a map, you don't do an environmental impact report. It's when you're about to turn some dirt that you think about doing an environmental impact report," he said.

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