Thousand Oaks City Council moves forward with Civic Arts Plaza Master Plan

By Michael Hernandez

THOUSAND OAKS—AECOM of of Los Angeles was selected by the City Council in a 5-0 vote to prepare a Civic Arts Plaza Master Plan at a cost not to exceed $1.42 million on top of the $6.1 million that has already been set aside for the Campus Master Plan. The Master Plan would develop the Town Square concept, improve pedestrian connections from the Town Square to the Civic Arts Plaza building, create retail and entertainment on the Westside Property and improve walkability on Thousand Oaks Boulevard.

The Civic Arts Plaza was completed in October 1994 (25 years ago) to be a regional

Performing Arts and Civic Center.  The campus includes the 1,800-seat Kavli theatre, and the 394-seat Scherr Forum theatre, which also doubles as the Andrew P. Fox City Council Chambers and Planning Commission venue.  The campus includes  a 750-space 5-level parking structure and 87,000 square foot office area dedicated to City Hall functions and 10,000 square feet for tenants.  Total buildings on campus are 209,000 square feet with the total campus valued at $80 million.

AECOM—a Fortune 500 company–has experience planning in Hawaii, Los Angeles (University of Southern California), San Francisco, New York, Sacramento, San Diego and Pasadena as well as in the State of Washington.  Their expertise is in master planning, urban design, civic engineering and in interior space planning.  Some 15 proposals were received by the city and were rated with the top seven consultants interviewed. 

The Civic Arts Plaza Campus Master Plan is for the next 25 years. The City Council also approved the establishment of an Ad Hoc Council Civic Arts Plaza Campus Master Plan Committee.  The motion for the city council action was made by City Council member Al Adam for a “world class facility” which council member Claudia Bill-de la Pena called an “investment in the future.”

In other action:

  • The City Council voted 5-0 to consider a General Plan update and direct staff to seek grant funding to offset update costs especially since the 1996 General Plan Use Element map that serves as the basis of Measure E allows more growth in Thousand Oaks than is reasonably expected. The General Plan was first adopted in 1970.  For 2018, the passage of SB 2 created a new funding source, 50 percent of which will be available for jurisdictions that are undertaking long-range planning, including General Plan updates.  Another source of funding could include a development fee.
  • The City Council also selected Raimi and Associates of Los Angles (a firm that has completed 11 updates in the past 12 years and won several awards) to advise the City at an estimated cost of $10,000 and assist Thousand Oaks with the General Plan and Housing Element (topic areas  include:  land use, housing, noise, conservation, safety, open space, circulation and environmental justice) update options.  A budget will be requested at a future City Council meeting and is expected to cost between $1 to $1.5 million for a comprehensive General Plan update for Thousand Oaks with approximately half of which is for the required environmental analysis.  The motion was made by Council member Claudia Bill-de la Pena.
  • The City Council meeting was adjourned by Mayor Rob McCoy in memory of Mayor Emeritus Alex Fiore who passed away January 3, 2002 and served on the Thousand Oaks City Council for 30 years from 1964 to 1994 (six terms as Mayor). The next regular meeting of the Thousand Oaks City Council is Jan. 22.

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 24 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at

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3 Responses to Thousand Oaks City Council moves forward with Civic Arts Plaza Master Plan

  1. William Hicks January 14, 2019 at 10:58 am

    YEAH, expand the failing Civics Art Plaza, but don’t use some of the “open space” to build home that people would love to have while our children leave Thousand Oaks for lack of affordable housing.


  2. Peggy Burns January 13, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    How much is this going to cost the taxpayers of Thousand Oaks?

  3. William Hicks January 12, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Every economic failure seems to become the next City Council office in Thousand Oaks.


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