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Wagon Wheel

Some recent pics I took around the Wagon Wheel development while visiting OXD:




Bike lanes!!














Sorry about the image quality. Apparently, Cali is in the middle of an epic drought, but I happened to visit the one weekend it thunderstormed!!
 

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Insurance company reopens historic downtown Oxnard building



After being foreclosed and sitting vacant for nearly three years, downtown Oxnard’s historic Bank of A. Levy building — built in 1927 — reopened last month as the new location for a local insurance and risk management firm.

The 9,000-square-foot property stands prominently on the corner of Fifth and A streets with rounded arches and high windows. Inside, there are shoe-sized indents in the floor where patrons once stood to speak with bank tellers at the marble countertop.

Now, contemporary workstations line the walls and a Ping-Pong table sits inside one of the vaults.

Al Barkley, owner and chief executive officer of Barkley Insurance and Risk Management, purchased the Bank of A. Levy building in January 2013 for about $1.125 million according to the Ventura County Recorder’s Office.

Griffin Barkley said the company wanted to maintain its ties with downtown Oxnard, especially as more businesses are being pulled toward new development closer to Highway 101.

“I wouldn’t call it a revival of downtown, but a continued investment in downtown,” Barkley said. “We saw this as an opportunity to revive a vacant, dilapidated building in downtown and we saw this as an opportunity for our agency and our firm to grow.”

The building’s bow arch and Italian revival design also make it significant architecturally, Doner said. The building was completed by Levy’s son in 1927 and designated a county landmark in 1979.

Within the last year, Magana said two other large commercial spaces that had been vacant have been sold, including the building next to the Bank of A. Levy building and the former Play Billiard building in the 600 block of A Street.

“There’s some action taking place,” Magana said. “It’s a sign that we’re starting to see some renewed interest in investment in the area.”
Read more at http://www.vcstar.com/business/insurance-company-reopens-historic-downtown
 

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Gross. I thought California was making an effort to have more sustainable development than this pave & destroy, Rancho Generico, housing.
Most of what is shown in the rendering has long been built. The development is for 55 homes, and many conservationists applaud the development because the whole 215-acre plot is zoned for residential, but this development would actually give most of the plot to the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy instead of actually developing it. Here is a link to another full article:

http://www.vcreporter.com/cms/story/detail/hillside_development_planned_in_ventura/12150/
 

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Most of what is shown in the rendering has long been built. The development is for 55 homes, and many conservationists applaud the development because the whole 215-acre plot is zoned for residential, but this development would actually give most of the plot to the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy instead of actually developing it. Here is a link to another full article:

http://www.vcreporter.com/cms/story/detail/hillside_development_planned_in_ventura/12150/
Thank you for the details-- good to know. From the image above, it looked like a sprawling cul-de-sac development.
 

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Chinese builder makes $1-billion entry into U.S. housing market



Tim Logan | LA Times | 4 September

A major Chinese home builder is making a $1-billion bet on the U.S. housing market, and it came to Los Angeles on Thursday to celebrate.

Landsea Group is launching three housing developments – in Simi Valley, in Dublin, Calif., in the east San Francisco Bay Area, and in Weehawken, N.J., across the Hudson River from Manhattan – with plans to invest $1 billion in U.S. home building over the next few years.

The launch, which Landsea celebrated Thursday at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, represents one of the first forays by a big Chinese builder into the U.S. single-family home market.

“We have already established our presence in Asia and Europe, but there is no better housing market than the United States, where home ownership will always be a part of the American dream and a cornerstone of economic prosperity,” said Landsea Chairman Tian Ming, who was wrapping up a 12-day visit to all three U.S. sites.

Tian founded the Nanjing company in 2001 and has built it into a big player in China’s housing market, constructing about 12,000 homes a year with revenues of nearly $2 billion. Landsea also builds in Hong Kong, Germany, and now the U.S.

Here, Landsea is starting work on as many as 187 units in Simi Valley – 152 single-family homes and a 35-unit “active adult” project – which will be finished in 2015, said John Ho, managing director of Landsea’s U.S. subsidiary. The company is targeting entry-level domestic U.S. buyers – not just the burgeoning market of Chinese buying homes in Southern California – he said.

“From our research, Chinese customers in the U.S. don’t want to live in a 100% Chinese community,” Ho said. “We think we’ll sell maybe 30% to Chinese buyers.”

Los Angeles has seen a recent surge in Chinese investment in real estate, with several major downtown projects in the works by Chinese developers. Investment in single-family home building has been slower, though.

Ho said Landsea sees potential to grow in the U.S. and wanted to diversify its holdings beyond China, where development has grown very expensive. The company is also scouting sites in the Boston and Washington markets and plans to grow more in Southern California, the Bay Area and New York too.

“We believe in the U.S. housing market,” he said. “We’ll make more significant large announcements in the markets we’re in, and we’ll continue to expand.”
 

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Oxnard turns down lease for sports park site



OXNARD, Calif. - A developer’s request to lease a city-owned, 21-acre site in Oxnard for $1 a year for 99 years was unanimously denied by the City Council on Tuesday night.

The council’s discussion was held in private, but the outcome was announced publicly when the panel returned to open session shortly after 6 p.m. The announcement, read by city legal staff, also said council members recommend the developer communicate with community members regarding the plan.

The proposal from Young & Co. Inc. of Avila Beach concerned vacant property at the southeast corner of Oxnard Boulevard and Gonzales Road. The company envisioned building a $19 million, indoor regional sports center with two domes boasting courts for volleyball, basketball and futsal, a type of indoor soccer. The center would host regional tournaments and include a multistory building with offices, meeting rooms and some commercial space.

An open-air sports park has been planned at the site since at least 1993, city documents show.

Numerous residents spoke against the idea before the council met in closed session. Several hotel industry officials spoke in favor.
http://www.vcstar.com/news/local-news/oxnard/oxnard-turns-down-lease-for-sports-park-site_99163620
 

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Conservancy awarded $1 million for hillside purchase



The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy announced today that it has been awarded a $1 million grant from the California Natural Resources Agency to purchase roughly 300 acres of the 2,123-acre Walker-Hearne Ranch property. The land, located directly east of the Clearpoint residential community in East Ventura, represents the first purchase of hillside land for the 12-year-old land trust. It includes oak woodland, riparian and coastal sage habitat types and stunning views of the Channel Islands and Santa Clara River valley. The grant, awarded through CNRA’s Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, serves to mitigate some of the environmental impacts to coastal sage scrub and riparian habitats associated with the U.S. Highway 101 widening project along the Rincon.

The Conservancy formed in 2003 to preserve the hillsides, canyons and open spaces that contribute to the unique character and natural environment of the Ventura region. While the Conservancy has acquired seven properties totaling over 26 acres of land in the Ventura River watershed, this grant represents its largest acquisition to date.

“I am very pleased that the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy has received critical funding that will go toward the acquisition and preservation of more than 1,700 acres in western Ventura County” said State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara. “This will preserve wetlands and wildlife habitat, provide nature trails for our residents, and protect this land for generations to come.”

“This million-dollar grant from the State recognizes the importance of preserving the Ventura Hillsides and reflects the strength and capacity of the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy,” said Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett, District 1. “This is a keystone acquisition which will hopefully be the first of many to preserve the Ventura Hillsides and open them for public recreation. All of the Board members and supporters of the Hillsides Conservancy deserve our thanks and congratulations for bringing our community to this historic point.”

"The Walker-Hearne Ranch is owned by the eight great grandchildren of William Sexton, who, along with his brother Joseph, purchased the land grant property in 1883,” said David Hadlen, managing partner of the property. (It was Joseph who planted the 13 eucalyptus trees above Ventura in 1898.) “After working closely with the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy and talking to members of the Ventura community over the past three and a half years, the family and the Conservancy have discussed a balanced plan for the future of the Walker-Hearne Ranch. The initial sale of approximately 300 acres to the Conservancy is a solid first step toward the goal of a much broader Conservancy ownership and/or management, and one that provides access to the public."

“We are delighted that this purchase enables us to begin implementing our vision for preserving the hillsides for the benefit of our community, which has been VHC’s mission since its inception,” said David Comden, president of the Conservancy.

Derek Poultney, Conservation Manager: “We expect escrow to close later this year and we’ll continue working on obtaining additional funding sources to purchase more acreage. The Conservancy has been working on conserving the property since December 2011 and we’re looking forward to achieving our project goals over the next few years.

“The sale of roughly 300 acres to VHC and represents a good first step toward our goal of a much larger preservation area managed by VHC and ultimately accessible by the public,” he said.
http://www.vcreporter.com/cms/story/detail/conservancy_awarded_1_million_for_hillside_purchase/12839/
 

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The left hand turn lane at the Walmart entrance is desperately needed. That intersection has become frustrating and somewhat dangerous. Glad to see these moving forward, the parking seems excessive, but I am guessing they want to avoid spillover into the Ralphs/LA Fitness parking lot.

Upscale (and once, controversial) Ventura development holds groundbreaking ceremony
From staff reports
10:52 AM, Apr 6, 2015


VENTURA, calif. - A once-controversial residential development will break ground Monday in the Montalvo area of Ventura.

The ceremony for Island View Apartments starts at 3:30 p.m. at Eighth Street and Alameda Avenue, behind Ralphs grocery store.

A group of residents sued developer Westwood Communities Corp. after the city approved the 154-unit project, arguing that it didn’t have enough parking and that traffic could be an issue.

The city, Westwood and the group, Citizens for Balanced Growth, reached a settlement agreement in May 2013 that involved increasing the number of parking spaces from 272 to 294. The developer changed plans to include 88 two-bedroom units instead of the 79 originally planned and 66 one-bedroom units instead of 75.

The city agreed to conduct a traffic study to determine whether to add left-turn signals to the four-way intersection at Moon Drive and Victoria and the entrance to Walmart.

“The complex will feature multiple courtyards, seating areas and fire pits, as well as two rooftop decks with barbecue areas and magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean,” the city’s news release said. “Other amenities will include a full gym, coffee bar, lounge, conference room, yoga studio, billiards and sports room, dog park, pool and spa.”

More information on the project will be available during the ceremony, along with refreshments.

For more information contact Community Development Manager Jeff Lambert at 658-4723 or Arianna Ashkar at 310-477-3321 or by email at [email protected].
 

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Ojai hospital moving forward with construction plans



Community Memorial Health Systems is in the approval process with the city of Ojai and the state of California for its next big project at the Ojai Valley Community Hospital: the construction of a new Continuing Care Center. The $10 million project will replace the skilled nursing facility with a new building on 4 acres of undeveloped land at the back of the hospital property.

According to state law, all hospital facilities must be approved by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, (OSHPD) as well as by the hospital's local planning department — in this case, the city of Ojai. The project has received initial comments from OSHPD and the city, and the hospital has responded to those comments and is awaiting results of the formal review from both entities.

“The proposed project is a replacement of our existing skilled nursing facility,” said Haady Lashkari, chief administrative officer at Ojai Valley Community Hospital. The entire property is just under 8 acres. “We hope to be through the approval phase by the end of summer and begin grading by the end of the year,” Lashkari added. Once construction begins, the project is expected to take 16 to 18 months.
http://www.vcstar.com/news/local-news/ojai-valley-news/ojai-hospital-moving-forward-with-construction-plans
 

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Oxnard OKs plans at Rose Ave corner



The Oxnard City Council approved development plans for a church, fast food and commercial space on a vacant lot at the corner of Rose Avenue and Camino Del Sol Tuesday night.

The 4-1 decision will allow a 7,400-square-foot building for New Trinity Community Church, a Carl's Jr. and about 6,000 square feet for three or four commercial tenants on the 2.5-acre site.
http://www.vcstar.com/news/local-news/oxnard/oxnard-oks-plans-at-rose-ave-corner
 

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Apartments for low-income families coming to Oxnard

OXNARD, Calif. - An apartment community for low-income families will break ground Thursday at a ceremony in Oxnard.

Sonata at RiverPark will have 52 units from one to three bedrooms. The grounds will feature a courtyard with recreational space for children, a community room and laundry facilities.

Retirement Housing Foundation, a national nonprofit organization, is the sponsor of the tax-credit community. Financing was made available through a partnership with Wells Fargo, the city of Oxnard and Angelus Trust.

RHF is affiliated with the Council for Health and Human Services Ministries of the United Church of Christ.

The groundbreaking will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at 2901 Riverpark Blvd. in Oxnard. The Rev. Laverne R. Joseph will deliver the invocation and opening remarks. Other scheduled speakers include Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragoza.
http://www.vcstar.com/news/local-news/oxnard/apartments-for-lowincome-families-coming-to-oxnard_61719906
 

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Does anybody have recent construction pics of the Wagon Wheel and River Park areas?
Update on this project...Currently I believe there are 5 apartment buildings completed and people have moved in. All affordable housing I believe. The streets has really been improved. They built a new round-a-bout and put in a bunch of trees. Tons of land has been cleared and should start construction soon. I believe the old bowling ally is closing soon and will be demolished. The last time I drove by they had the old wagon wheel sign on site. I'm hoping they incorporate that into the new development somewhere.
 

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Dog park at RiverPark gets Oxnard council OK



The Oxnard City Council approved 5-0 a dog park in the RiverPark neighborhood Tuesday night despite opposition from many residents.

Construction of the 32,000-square-foot facility in Windrow Park on Ventura Road is expected to cost $126,436. Costs will be covered by taxes paid by RiverPark property owners.

When the council first approved the concept and design money for it in April, the dog park seemed to have broad neighborhood support. But additional neighborhood council meetings since then uncovered significant division. A vote last month counted 68 residents in support and 58 opposed.
http://www.vcstar.com/news/local-news/oxnard/dog-park-at-riverpark-gets-oxnard-council-ok
 

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Discussion Starter · #77 ·

move the cursor on the map

Ventura County, Calif., is the absolute most desirable place to live in America.

I know this because in the late 1990s the federal government devised a measure of the best and worst places to live in America, from the standpoint of scenery and climate. The "natural amenities index" is intended as "a measure of the physical characteristics of a county area that enhance the location as a place to live."

The index combines "six measures of climate, topography, and water area that reflect environmental qualities most people prefer." Those qualities, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, include mild, sunny winters, temperate summers, low humidity, topographic variation, and access to a body of water.

These "natural aspects of attractiveness," as the USDA describes them, are intended to be constant and relatively immutable. They're not expected to change much over time, so the USDA hasn't updated its data beyond the initial 1999 scoring. "Natural amenities pertain to the physical rather than the social or economic environment," the USDA writes. Things like plants, animals or the human environment are excluded by definition. "We can measure the basic ingredients, not how these ingredients have been shaped by nature and man." I stumbled on these numbers after reading about a recent study linking natural amenities to religiosity. (U.S. counties with nicer weather and surroundings tend to have less religious residents.)

I've mapped all the counties above according to where they rank on the natural amenities index -- mouse over to check out how desirable (or not) your own county is. You'll see that Sun Belt counties fare pretty well -- especially ones in California and Colorado. In fact, every single one of the 10 highest-ranked counties is located in California. After Ventura County, Humboldt, Santa Barbara, Mendocino and Del Norte counties round out the top five.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...y-county-in-america-ranked-by-natural-beauty/
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 ·


Ventura County sees a sales tax hike as a fix for transportation problems

Local officials hope to change that in 2016. Encouraged by recent opinion polling, they are exploring a ballot measure for the November election that would impose a small sales tax that could raise an additional $1 billion to $2 billion for transportation projects.

"It's desperately needed," said Keith Millhouse, a Moorpark city councilman and Ventura County transportation commissioner. "I'm disappointed that we have not had one before." Voters had a chance to approve a similar tax in 2004, "but that measure did not pass."

Should next year's transportation proposal win the required two-thirds majority, high on the list of projects are widenings of the 101 and State Route 118, better known as the Ronald Reagan Freeway. The 118 runs east from Saticoy in Ventura County to Lake View Terrace in Los Angeles.

The largest project involves the 101 at an estimated cost of $800 million to $900 million. The proposal would add a lane in each direction along 28 miles through the urban heart of Ventura County.

With an estimated cost of $150 million, the 118 is a much simpler project. Depending on the location, one and two lanes would be added to eight miles of the highway between Simi Valley and Moorpark.
http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-california-commute-20150915-story.html
 
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