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Mark Sandoval (File Photo)
Thursday, September 10, 2020

By Chris Frost




San Francisco—The story about the California Coastal Commission’s rejection of an override of the 400-unit apartment building at Fisherman’s Wharf on Aug. 12 continues with Tom Tellefsen from Channel Islands Harbor Properties saying the development will now have an affordable housing component.


He told the commission the majority of the area is occupied by homeowners who occupy their dwellings, and although apartments are available, they are usually leased.


“We’re offering the most income challenged families an opportunity to live at the harbor,” he said.


Rene Aui from the Harbor Beach Community Alliance (HBCA) said the county has failed to meet the requirements of the Coastal Act sections 30515 and the commission regulations, section 13666.4.


“It failed all the required tests,” she said.


Over 78 percent of the harbor’s waterfront is residential; she said, as well as most of the area surrounding the harbor. The remaining harbor waterfront parcels are dedicated solely for visitor-serving and harbor purposes by the local coastal plan and the public works plan.


“The Local Coastal Plan (LCP) amendment is not what it claims to be,” she said. “It does not meet the public needs in the city of Oxnard, let alone an area greater than Oxnard’s LCP. The developer has used glossy illustrations to promote its project, but they misrepresent the project. They use deceptive perspectives to obscure the real size and mass of the proposed development. They exaggerate the size of the walkways. These illustrations do not reflect the developer’s architectural plans. There has been no genuine effort to modify the project to address the concerns of the city and the public. Not a single detail of this project has changed since the county approved it in 2016.”


Aiu showed a picture of the current Fisherman’s Wharf and then superimposed a picture of the wharf with a model of the apartments would look like using a model built by an HBCA member with the developer’s plans.


“That’s important,” she said. “We hope you recall seeing the model and the May 2019 environmental justice hearing. We brought it there to demonstrate the extraordinary effort the public and volunteer community organizations like ours must make to oppose a development that is not fairly or accurately represented. It is vital for an area like Oxnard, with large underserved groups and not enough public areas for relaxation and enjoyment. The challenge is more daunting when the advocates of the development are a government entity and a billionaire developer who places financial interests over the public’s interest. The project is a massive apartment complex. It is two city blocks long, and there are no view corridors. Its footprint covers an area the size of six football fields. The fortress-like complex will stand four stories high, 55 feet, plus 10 feet for rooftop equipment. The complex will be surrounded by a gated wall, more than 18 feet high.”


The project is not an urban village, which she said County Supervisor Steve Bennet admitted is not mixed-use.


“Only 5.4 percent of all building square footage will be for public use,” she said. “There are no genuine public benefits. The amenities are overwhelmingly exclusive to apartment tenants. There are two large swimming pools, a volleyball court, gardens, outdoor dining areas, fire pits, spas, gyms, and more, all exclusive for apartment tenants only.”


The proposed park eliminates more than one-third of the existing park, she said, and all the adjacent parking and the public dock that is used for launching paddleboards, kayaks, and other uses.


“Without the adjacent parking, public use of the remaining park and launching recreational equipment will be difficult unless you live in the complex,” she said. “The project will impede and limit public access to recreation and view resources that currently exist, and the project fails to provide adequate parking essential to public access. It is under parked by 390 spaces. It does not meet Oxnard’s parking codes, nor does it meet the county’s own coastal parking ordinances. There is no on-street parking and virtually no public transportation nearby. The county believes if the project is under parked, the only one at risk is the developer.”


She called that wrong.


“The real risk of inadequate parking is the permanent loss of public access to a coastal resource and the failure of visitor-serving businesses,” she said. “The LCPA Project is not about revitalization, but privatization of Fisherman’s Wharf and the harbor.”


She also cited traffic safety issues the public will face because of the development.


“Visitors and apartment tenants will be required to make non-signalized left turns and u-turns in-and-out of the project, she said. “The project is located at a busy intersection, and a key access road that is the only road to-and-from public beaches and the California Coastal Trail.”


This story will continue on Sept 17.