Renaissance Pleasure Faire officials said Wednesday that they will apply for a permit to use a 130-acre site in Ventura County despite opposition from nearby cities.
Fair spokesman Eric Stoltz reiterated the spring festival’s commitment to securing the proposed site after learning that the Thousand Oaks City Council had decided Tuesday night to send the county a letter opposing the event--which has drawn more than 300,000 people during a six-week run.
Later Wednesday, the Moorpark City Council voted to draft a letter opposing the fair and to send it to the county. But if the county approves use of the site over the city’s objections, Moorpark council members said they will ask that an environmental impact report be required.
In its letter, the Thousand Oaks City Council said it supported preserving as open space and for agricultural uses the Tierra Rejada Valley, an unincorporated area of eastern Ventura County where the proposed site is located.
The letter said the council opposes “any intensive land use for any commercial purpose” in the Tierra Rejada Valley, including the fair. It dated its opposition to development of the valley to 1982, when it joined Simi Valley and the county in designating the area as a greenbelt. Moorpark joined the agreement in 1984.
Stoltz said the fair is not a commercial event because it benefits the Living History Centre, a nonprofit organization.
But Thousand Oaks City Councilman Alex Fiore said the fair is a commercial event because about 175 vendors rent booths and sell goods.
Opposition to the fair has surfaced since fair officials announced in January that they had rented the proposed site, which is about a quarter of a mile west of the Moorpark Freeway. It is bordered by Tierra Rejada Road on the north, Moorpark Road on the south and east, and by hills on the west.
For 25 years, the fair had been held near Agoura Hills, but that site has been sold to a developer.
Fair officials said they intend to apply by the end of next week for a permit to use the Tierra Rejada site for eight consecutive weekends, beginning May 6.
County planner Paul Porter said that once an application is filed, the county will add the letter from Thousand Oaks to its staff report on the project. In addition, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Simi Valley and Camarillo will have a chance to comment on the application.