Here we go again folks.  A large development is planned for the Mike’s Bike property and the parking lot next to it, on El Camino between Acacia and Olive.   The homeowners on Olive will have their property impacted by this deep development stretching well back off the ECR frontage.  And the neighbors across the street on Olive have already “bought the farm” so to speak with massive 441 Page Mill hemming them in.  Another local business crumbles beneath the wave of the “build baby build” mentality that has gripped our civic leaders and paid staff — who find it easier to cave to pressure from developers than to enforce the building code.

Is there any particular reason that Ventura has been nominated for so many high density developments on a massive scale, heretofore, unimagined?  What is it about our part of down, particularly Ventura, that makes it ripe for exploitation by profiteers through exemptions, exceptions and upzoning?  (Think:  441 Page Mill, the Olive Garden property, Park Plaza, Parmani, the VTA Lot at Page Mill and ECR, and so many more and more to come.  It makes the head swim!)

Could it be that after decades of neglect and lack of oversight from Code Enforcement on El Camino in and near Ventura, that the appearance of dereliction is perhaps used as the battle cry for redevelopment.  “That part of town is so unattractive due to our own negligence of it, let’s plow it under, build up developments that look like fortresses, and seek no neighborhood input.”  This latest application to go before the Architectural Review Board and ultimately to the City Council is just one of a dozen developments either being built, getting ready to be built or applying for permits to be built affecting tiny Ventura.

In all fairness to this development, it is technically within legal limits.  They are asking for some adjustments in the parking, but they minor.  And as we have come to understand, any development on ECR has to be right at the property line on El Camino.  That is something in the municipal code that bears review.  Even if developers wanted to create setbacks that help to counter the blot-out-the-sky effects of scale and massing, they have to build right at the line. We can’t really blame developers for wanting to max out their profit.  But we can look to city council to change the rules and guidelines to give Ventura and other neighborhoods some relief from the godzilla effects.   If we don’t act, there will be no change.

People of Ventura, can it be that we will be paved over along the Ventura stretch of the so called “Grand Boulevard”/El Camino Real? Will our quiet and modest way of life be impacted or disrupted by the added massing, population, traffic and parking and noise impacts? We are not NIMBY people per se, no more than anyone else, but we are wondering, “Why In Our Backyard Only? “WIOBYO?”  We will give our fair share, but must we absorb all the high density growth, if that is indeed deemed a good thing for our fair city? Why are we the only neighborhood asked to sacrifice?  Could it be that traditionally, we have the least economic power and political clout of any neighborhood in the city? Venturans, shouldn’t we play a part in the shaping of our neighborhood landscape?

What can be done?

Come to Association Meetings and learn and share – first Sunday of every month – next one is Sunday, November 6, 1:30 pm – Place TBA

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Track or attend the Architectural Review Board Meeting – Thursday, November 3, 8:30 am – City Hall Downtown – this exact project will be discussed – make your voice heard.

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Together we can make a difference.  Alone and isolated, we really don’t stand a chance.