What is Best for Channel Islands Harbor, its Businesses, its Boaters and Commercial Fishing, the Wildlife, the Community and the Public.
The current PWP was certified over 30 years ago in September of 1986. There has been no update since then but a string of 7 amendments. All these amendments point to the need for a complete comprehensive update of the current Public Works Plan (PWP) for our harbor. This continuous series of amendments prevents everyone from seeing the ultimate development plan for the harbor. This is piecemeal planning at its worst. The question is why must harbor development be conducted in this manner.
It obscures the intended next stage of development not only from the public, the City of Oxnard, other public service agencies but from the Coastal Commission as well. It obstructs coordination and planning from other entities whose input and planning is critical for related infrastructure support and services such as water, sewer, trash, fire, police, traffic management.
The Coastal Commission in a December 1, 2008, letter from then Executive Director, Peter Douglas, requested such an update “ I write at the request of the Coastal Commission to convey the Commission’s strong request to the Board of Supervisors asking that the County avoid piecemeal amendments to the Channel Island Public Works Plan (PWP) for landside development… This would provide the County, the Commission and the public the opportunity to comprehensively analyze and address the interrelationships between these developments and their potential impacts on public access, scenic resources, sensitive habitat, air & water quality, and public recreation.”
This “two step process” and “mothballing of sites” were also noted in the Coastal Commission December 9, 2009 hearing.
More recently during the Coastal Commission hearing of July 14, 2016, Commissioner Mary Shallenberger said, “I just want to say again, I really don’t like project driven amendments. We’re left with what we think the project is going to look like…what we think is going to be there.”
What is also of concern with this “piecemeal amendment” process is what may not be disclosed. Were the Commissioners told during the PWPA 6 hearing for the replacement of the Casa Sirena Hotel with height variance for the parcels F and F-1, that on April 19, 2016, a section of these same parcels had been also awarded to Channel Islands Properties, LLC (the developers for the proposed Fisherman’s Wharf project) through an ERN for a future development proposal? In the Harbor Director’s letter to the Board of Supervisors dated April 19, 2016 “ERN will establish revised timetables for CIHP…These deadlines include dates for CIHP to reach an agreement with Brighton on potential division of the existing parcels.”
The community supported the hotel project and height variance at the March 22, 2016 Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting. The amended reinstatement of the expired ERN for parcel F and F-1 a month later came as a surprise and was opposed by the community. The community also expressed concern regarding any negative impact or delay regarding hotel replacement project which it supported. This further reinforced public distrust in this type of piecemeal tactic. This same apartment developer also got another expired ERN amended and reinstated for parcel X-3 on the West side of the harbor that is currently designated as visitor-serving and harbor oriented. The developer is not required to make proposals for these parcels until their Fisherman’s Wharf project progresses.
This piecemeal planning tactic using project-driven amendments to get development approved in the Coastal Zone must end. The comprehensive harbor development plan, updated PWP, should be clear and open to the public, the City of Oxnard, and the Coastal Commission so that reasonable and informed decisions can be made that are consistent with the Coastal Act and the public’s interest. What is now needed is an updated Public Works Plan not another PWPA.
Oppose this on-going piecemeal planning of Harbor development and demand an updated Harbor Public Works Plan that provides a clear and open planned vision of the Channel Islands Harbor.
Wesley Horn of the Coastal Commission firstname.lastname@example.org
Timothy Flynn, Mayor of Oxnard
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Mail to: 3600 S. Harbor Blvd. #488, Oxnard, Ca. 93035