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Planning and Sustainability Manager Kathleen Mallory (File photo)
Thursday, November 19, 2020

By Chris Frost


Oxnard-- The City Council, Nov. 17, approved the tentative tract-map development agreement revision for the Wagon Wheel Development.


The agreement green lights a neighborhood park location change on Lot A, along with flood control improvements.


The agreement also certifies the final environmental impact report and supplemental environmental report SEIR 14-01.


The area in the Village specific plan is bound by the Ventura Freeway, Highway 101 in the north, Oxnard Blvd to the east, the Union Pacific Railroad, and the El Rio drain to the south and North Ventura Road, and the Santa Clara River to the west.


The council approved the ordinance by title only and waived further reading. That approved Planning and Zoning Permit No. 19-630-01 and the Specific Plan Amendment No. 2 to The Village specific plan for the map. They also approved text amendments to The Village specific plan subject to certain findings and adopted a resolution approving Planning and Zoning Permit No. 19-300-01, which is a revision to the tentative subdivision map for Tract No. 5745, subject to certain findings and conditions.


Planning and Sustainability Manager Kathleen Mallory presented the item to the council and said the project is 62 acres and known as Wagon Wheel.


In 2008 and 2009, the city certified the final impact report and approved multiple entitlement improvements for the project.  That included a general plan amendment, zone change, a tentative subdivision map, a development agreement, and an owner participation agreement. It also included a mobile home participation permit for a 171-space Wagon Wheel Mobile Home Park.


"With that, it also provided for 225 affordable rental units as part of that mobile home closure," she said. "It also created a development agreement which permitted ongoing development for the next 20 years, through 2029."


The Villiage specific plan provides specific infrastructure plans and guidelines, standards, and regulations for 1,500 homes, 50,300 square feet of commercial space, a transit center, 7.4 acres of parks and open space, plus a multi-use path.


 The Villiage specific plan is currently under active development.


"To date, 1,097 housing units have been entitled, and 50,300 square feet of commercial space has been approved and is under active development," she said. "There are 119 lower-income units in the Villiage specific plan area, known as the Villiage Family Apartments completed in 2012, and 80 moderate-income units will be constructed in the area known as Wagon Wheel Junction in town square."


Portions of roadways have been constructed, she said, starting on Oxnard Blvd to Cactus Drive.


"There is a two-acre Village Green public park that has been constructed, and there is one under construction, as well," she said. "A portion of the class one multi-use path has been approved and is under construction at this point."


The remaining development is located along the western portion of the specific plan area.


"It's on a multi-family lot on the eastern edge, adjacent to Oxnard Blvd," she said.


Mallory said 403 more dwelling units would get built. Those will get approved through a development design review and an administrative permit hearing before the Community Development Director.


"Additionally, moderate-income units will be constructed at the project," she said. "It will be consistent with the agreements previously developed."


"The specific plan amendment will not change the dwelling unit count, nor will it change the density," she said. "It will also not change any of the affordable units and the agreements that were developed years back."


The amendments include minor land use circulation changes that reflect the roadway's current development changes through the map.


"There are also changes to the Cal Trans off-ramp," she said. "There is also a change in the location for the park, to improve park access and relocate the residential uses further away from noise impacts associated with Ventura Road and the Cal Trans off-ramp."


The proposal also has development standard revisions, which will simplify and streamline the project's review.


"It will improve consistency with existing development patterns," she said.  "Some standards in the specific plan that don't match up with current development trends."


The city also removed references to high-rise towers. In 2004-2004 when it was proposed, and when the specific plan got adopted in 2008, there was a concept to construct high rises without exceeding the 1,500 dwelling unit count.


"As the market has borne out, the issue of building a high rise that was 270 feet (tall) didn't make sense," she said. "The housing unit density can still be achieved with a different building height and product."


The park’s conceptual graphics identified in the plan did not match the city's and developer's plans.


"The conceptual park graphic and amenities that were shown in the specific plan did not fit with the new park location's or infrastructure design, nor did it match the council's conceptual approval of the facilities district," she said. 


The council also considered an administrative approval process to have the community development director make minor changes within the project's specific plan within the specific plan's spirit and intent.


"That's consistent with what we are doing with River Park, as well," she said. "We're proposing to switch the planning areas from planning area 1, the high-density residential, to parks and open space. The idea is to move the residential area away from the off-ramp away from Ventura Road and go ahead and put the residential with some of the flood control improvements. We're also proposing to change the land use for planning area 14, the pink sliver. It was planned to be live, work, but the parcel was so small that it didn't make sense. What is constructed there now is a park."


The city is merging planning areas 2, 3, 7, 8, 12, 13, 20, and 21 to change how the lots get laid out.


"There was a road that was conceptionally shown in the specific plan, and it didn't make sense to split up the area," she said. "With conceptual development plans that are proposed, it makes sense to remove that roadway. All community areas will be designed to meet access fire department design requirements. It will be fully designed to meet the fire department access standards, even with the removal of that conceptual road. There are a number of streets proposed to be removed."


The amendment also means higher density on the eastern side of the specific plan area, adjacent to Oxnard Blvd.


"One of the changes removes the high-rise designation closer to Oxnard Blvd," she said. "Revisions to the existing tentative tract map are also being proposed to be consistent with the changes in the specific plan, so we make sure the map is going forward and consistent with what we have in the specific plan. That includes realigning Highway 101 with the Ventura Road off-ramp to the configuration that loops onto Ventura Road rather than through the subdivision."


This story will continue on Nov. 27.