Oxnard moves on Tourism Marketing, farmworker housing, Citizen Advisory Group Overhaul

By George Miller

At the 3-5-19 Oxnard Council meeting, the Council revamped the Citizen Advisory Group structure, established a tourism marketing district, omitting small hotels at their own request, approved a thirteen home development in the Wilson neighborhood, and agreed to the Villa Las Brisas Renovation Project for farmworker housing.

They also commended 4 businesses for their “Green” practices and celebrated St. Paul’s Church’s centennial.

Oxnard Green Business Commendations- 2019. Photo: Dan Pinedo/CitizensJournal.us

Meeting AGENDA

 

5 pm appointment items:

D-1- Report from Ventura County Watershed Protection District on Oxnard Projects (10/10/10)
RECOMMENDATION: That the Oxnard City Council receive and file a report on the status of joint, collaborative projects between the City of Oxnard and the Ventura County Watershed Protection Agency from Gerard Kapuscik, Strategic Resiliency Group Manager, Ventura County Watershed Protection District.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Alexander Nguyen Phone: (805) 385-7430

Document: D-1 Presentation

 

D-2-  Citizen Advisory Groups Ordinance (10/10/10) 
RECOMMENDATION: That City Council approve the first reading by title only and waive further reading of an ordinance amending Article II of Chapter 2 of the Oxnard City Code related to Citizen Advisory Groups.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Alexander Nguyen Phone: (805) 385-7430

Document: D-2 Staff Report and Presentation

Nominations are now by council voting district. Attendance requirements were made tougher. MacDonald wants discretionary excused absences. Objections to background check were addressed by City Mgr. Nguyen as necessary to screen out sex offenders.

The main public concern was “nepotism,” since nepotism was forbidden except for existing CAG members- in this case Roy Prince, husband of Mayor ProTem Carmen Ramirez. Council rejected it since he was already serving before the new ordinance. Ramirez mentioned that her husband is a qualified architect, valuable to the council and that she wants to  know whose job  supposedly was threatened by him, as  resident public speaker Alicia Percell mentioned. She also wants more younger residents. Mayor Flynn suggest that the threat was hearsay, even though Percell said she heard it first-hand.

There were mixed opinions on the nepotism rule. A broader discussion emerged on nepotism in general in the city ranks. Mac Donald says OK as long as one was not supervised by the other. City Manager Nguyen said he would manager with or without a nepotism rule, but was more concerned about the 50% shortfall in CAG applicants. There was no opposition to CAG members finishing their existing terms.

It was clarified that all CAG members would be able to finish their existing terms.

Only about 35 applicants have been received, with only one more week before the deadline. Some existing members were/are unaware that they need to re-apply to extend their tenures.

Voted with language to soften meeting absences with excused absences. Madrigal- no, Ramirez- abstain. 5-1-1

Main meeting started 45 minutes late.

 

F- CEREMONIAL CALENDAR 

1. Presentation of a Commendation to Saint Paul Baptist Church on the Occasion of Their 100th Anniversary.  Friday and Saturday events upcoming. This was the first African-American” church in Ventura County.

2. Presentation of a Commendation to Oxnard Certified Green Businesses: Janitech Cleaning Solutions, Honeycup Coffee and Kitchen, Heritage Coffee and Gifts, Bibo Bakeries USA, Inc. They were lauded as environmental stewards, commended by the CA Green Business Network.

 

G- PUBLIC COMMENTS ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA 

Larry Barberini- Lauded 12% decrease in violent crime reported. Wants to know how Oxnard stands in the County, particularly in violent crime. Also wants to hear about drones. Murder rate is up- 12 to 15. Thanks to council for moderating the oil and gas proposal (to eliminate halting landside production). By 2050 we will still have 70% of our energy from fossil fuels, which is cleaner now. Favors employees paying more of their pension contributions- more reform needed. $70MM unfunded liability

Jackie Tedeschi- AAA Westways publication touted Oxnard tourism this month.

Daniel Chavez, Jr.- Re VC Star pensions article, unfunded liabilities, what to do. He also suggested finding a new “revenue stream,” recommended marijuana, whih he doesn’t like, but says it is the will of the People. Says Port Hueneme already has dispensaries- donated 100 beds to homeless shelter, due to MJ tax money (actually aclabor union did this). Emulate PH model. 3 medical, 3 recreational dispensaries recommended by him. Previously asked for budget cuts and more $ into operational reserves.

Pat Brown- We need to stand up for our own rights on the harbor vs Ventura County- we should have more say. Also concerned about the state of Oxnard boulevard, which looks “trashy.”  Need monthly plan update.

Julie Miller Kolbacher- Earth Day is coming up 4-13 in Plaza Park. Will have Metro Water District booth there. Carwash development in front of her house has been a problem. Issues with noticing to community on workshop and other events. She has not received letters. Relying upon developers to send notices- change procedure?

Tina Rivera- Invite Ventura Regional Sanitation= join us in promoting Ronald McDonald room at Ventura County Hospital. Will be a walk for it on April 7, 7 am ant San Ventura State Beach. Need donations. Didn’t say how to contact.

 

H-1- Resolution Declaring Results of Majority Protest Proceedings and Establishing the Oxnard Tourism Marketing District (5/5/10) 
RECOMMENDATION: That City Council: 1) hold a final public hearing, 2) declare results of the majority protest proceeding, and 3) adopt the Resolution establishing the Oxnard Tourism Marking District.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Ashley Golden Phone: (805) 385-7882

Document: H-1 Staff Report & Presentation

18 businesses affected. Small hotels objected to the new assessment, saying they won’t benefit from it. Consultant says they were in conversation with the hotels for 3 months. Collected 7 petitions from hotels representing most of the budget (but not all  hotels). Wants to start assessment district April 1.  Based on input, want to change boundaries to stop small hotels/motels from being included. Recommend that only hotels with 55 or more rooms- 9 such businesses, which would reduce revenue by $20,000.

Public Comment

Pat Brown- Favors. Says we all benefit from tourism $.

Alcia Percell- Repeated 1-14-19 comments. OK if businesses agree to pool marketing funds, but why is the city affected? 7 hotels wanted it, others don’t- objectionable to compel  the others to join. Disproportionate benefits result. Should government be able to say how you will market your business? Violates compelled speech SCOTUS ruling, violation of First Amendment.  You risk a civil rights suit. It’s a tax, not a fee.

Rafael Macia- Represents  Channel Islands xxx (couldn’t hear). Doesn’t see how it benefits his company. Clients are mainly local and are in agriculture and construction.  Please remove us from this program as it will only increase costs for guests.

Small hotel owners had their say to protest at the previous hearing and were presumably satisfied with the modifications to the district boundaries.

Council/staff comments:

Madrigal- favors

Basua- Supports- a great thing for the city, hope more tourists will come

Ramirez- Tourism is the future of Oxnard.  What about legal/constitutional issues (raised by Percell). Nguyen- on books since 1994, used statewide, not declared unconstitutional. No such successful challenges.

MacDonald- Sits on commission, glad they took comments submitted. Supports.

Perello- Supports. Changed ordinance should satisfy Mr. Macia.  Perello feels it gives small motels a pass. How will this affect short term rentals? City of Oxnard was subsidizing this in the past.

MacDonald- takes objection to the language: “getting  a pass on this.” Small hotels should already be paying “T.O.T.” hotel bed tax.

Perello- if we take TOT $, does this give short-term renters a foot in the door? City Atty Fischer: will be dealt with at a future meeting.

Flynn- Everyone will benefit  from tourism- some more directly than others. Might ameliorate needed budget cuts. Is anyone not going to come to Oxnard because of this “tax?”  Guests will pay the tax. An absolute no brainer- supports 100%.

Vote- 6-1. Dissenting-  Perello- no. Should have addressed short term rentals.

 

H-2- Appeal of Planning and Zoning Permit No.  18-500-01 (Special Use Permit for a Planned Development); 18-300-05 (Tentative Tract Map for Tract No. 6009); and 18-535-01 (Density Bonus).  Heritage Homes Development Project, Located at 130-184 North H Street and 838 Palm Drive. (10/10/10) 
RECOMMENDATION: That City Council:
1. Adopt a resolution upholding the Planning Commission’s approval of Planning and Zoning Permit No. 18-500-01 (Special Use Permit for a Planned Development Permit), subject to certain findings and conditions set forth in Planning Commission Resolution No. 2018-35;
2. Adopt a resolution upholding the Planning Commission’s approval of Planning and Zoning Permit No. 18-535-01 (Density Bonus Permit), subject to certain findings and conditions set forth in Planning Commission Resolution No. 2018-37; and
3. Adopt a resolution approving Planning and Zoning Permit No. 18-300-05 (Tentative Tract Map for Tract No. 6009), subject to certain findings and conditions set forth in Planning Commission Resolution No. 2018-36.
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Ashley Golden Phone: (805) 385-7882

Document: H-2 Staff Report & Presentation
Document: H-2 Elevations
Appeal of project approval via 2 petitions. City position- uphold Planning Commission approval. Commission had  approved 5-0-2 (absent).
13 units on 1.49 acres, 1653 sq ft on much reduced plots with smaller setbacks, density bonus, all in a single family zoning, near convent and multi-unit dwellings, including 3 low income units.
Applicant- Henry Casias- Important for Oxnard and downtown district, have worked on this with neighborhood Council on architectural style, design, Wilson neighborhood historical style, which he says they emulated. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths.
Flynn recused self- lives nearby.
Perello- who appealed? Can they speak?  Answer- staff did the appeal.  Perello- did you inform the Planning Commission that you were appealing. I saw a petition with 45 signatures opposed.
Public Comment:
Gary Blum- Resident of Wilson Neighborhood and Chair. Developer has been very proactive. Pleased with it.
No requirement for  developer to work with Neighborhood Council. but he did. Have worked with Casias on other projects. Developer worked with them.  Heartened by petition and letter.
Mr. Fleisher- Thought that appeal would be based on petitions, but instead it was something I never heard of before. Neighborhood approved.
Mr. DiChecko, architect- Surprised by appeal, but comfortable with it. Others wanted apartments there but Henry (developer) wanted single family housing, compatible with neighborhood.  There were 5 separate public participation efforts. Smaller houses permit more families in Oxnard, address housing crisis, affordable, more “sustainable” housing. 13 instead of 9 houses.
Barbara Macri-Ortiz- Housing Accountability act says that 20% should be affordable.  City can help with down payments. Want priority for those who live and work in Oxnard.
Miller-Kolbacher- Like parking, design.  This requires special permission, because it is non-conforming. Allow residents to know why a special use permit is required. Not understandable, understandable to the public.
Pat Brown- Likes historical design. Tiny in size.  Look almost like attached houses. We needs lots of affordable housing.
Council/staff comments:
Lopez- Some area residents oppose on aesthetic reasons. Agree with Macri-Ortiz.
Perello- Appreciate parking solution. What is “attainable housing?” Like Kolbacher comments. Need more transparent/understandable process. Macri-Ortiz comments good. Can we restrict to live/work in Oxnard?
MacDonald- Petitioners opposed to density bonus. Cannot oppose these state law provisions. We have very little leeway on this. Supports.  Like rendering.
Basua- Re: Oxnard resident preferences. Don’t think this is permitted. Put this question to rest. Private money involved. Supports.
City Atty Fischer- City offered redevelopment funded projects have this latitude. Would have to look into this private one further.
Nguyen- Yes, private project., but doesn’t prohibit developer from providing such options- choice of developers.
Madrigal- Thanks for providing this, for not doing more apartments, for eliminating the eyesore on the site.
Ramirez- thanks for getting approvals. Would be great if Oxnard families could buy these. Reasonable project- thanks, support it.
Vote- 6-0-1 (Flynn recused)

I- REPORT OF CITY MANAGER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/SECRETARY 

Nguyen- Happy Fat Tuesday.

Council comments

Lopez- international Women’s Day.Went to own Redwood Council & Southwinds meeting. Went to Ventura AIDS walk. Cases going up. A local non-profit will do testing, etc.

Perello- Oxnard Job Fair coming up. Consider Patterson, Vineyard areas for DUI stops- problem area. Labor actually donated Port Hueneme homeless beds.

Ramirez- working with SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments) on  a housing needs assessment. How to find housing for people? Did Read Across America” at 2 local schools. Going to SCAG meeting.

Basua-  Congratulates Santa Paula High for CIF championship.

Madrigal- Rose Park neighborhood meeting.  Elm School grand opening on Saturday.

Flynn- Also congratulates  Santa Paula HS on CIF championship.  Working with Southwinds neighborhood on parking, living conditions. Working with Lopez and neighborhood council on neighborhood health and safety to eliminate unsafe conditions- aging housing stock and seniors in area. Working on CALPERS impact on general fund- MUST address in order to maintain levels of service to the public.

 

M- INFORMATION CONSENT AGENDA

M-3 has wrong agenda attachment- drafts only.

Vote- 7-0 to accept.  See details in agenda.

 

N-1- Exception Finding for Villa Las Brisas Renovation Project Located at 1700 East Fifth Street. (5/10/10) 
RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council find that the proposed renovation of Villa Las Brisas farmworker employee housing facility located at 1700 East Fifth Street is needed in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare and qualifies for the exception under Oxnard City Code (OCC) Section 16-511, “Exemptions.” (The Housing and Economic Committee approved 3-0).
Legislative Body: CC Contact: Jeffrey Lambert Phone: (805) 385-7882

Document: N-1 Staff Report & Presentation

Excerpt: The facility is designed to house up to 500 farmworkers who are mostly employed through the H2A Visa
program designed to provide seasonal agricultural workers with safe and sanitary housing,
transportation, and food. No families reside at the facility. The new owner and applicant, Reiter
Affiliated Companies (Reiter), is a family-owned Oxnard-based local farming company and is
voluntarily upgrading the facility. “

It wan’t clear how this will be paid for and how much it will cost. Somehow, it wasn’t mentioned during the meeting that the city is on the hook for part of the expense. Main costs will be borne by owner.

“The permit application fees, deposited to General Fund Planning and Zoning Fees (account 101-
4101-555-7381) will cover staff and expenses related to reviewing the project and public
notifications, which is included annual operating budget of General Fund Development Services
Planning Department.”

Presentation was waived by council. Perello is concerned with flooding history. Adjustments will be made to deal with this, per City.

Flynn- It is just down the road from City Action, which wants to convert to house the homeless. Nearby businesses using chemicals could endanger the residents, but it has pre-existing use.

This is a non-conforming use grandfathered, due to unique circumstances.

Public Comments

Pat Brown- Same concerns on environmental issue,. but property needs to be developed. Aftermarkets deserved to have a nice place to live, warm in winter, cool in summer.

Mark DiChecko- He is project architect- available for questions.

Barbara Macri-Ortiz- This existing structure can legally be retained, enhanced, repaired. The exception is one room changed into restroom for women.

M. Barahas- Renovate with quality for farmworkers.

Vote- 7-0 to approve

 


George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard


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