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Renaissance Faire to Pursue Permit Despite Thousand Oaks Opposition

Times Staff Writer

Renaissance Pleasure Faire officials said Wednesday they will apply for a permit to use a 130-acre site in Ventura County despite opposition from nearby cities, including Thousand Oaks.

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 over its six-week run.

In the letter, the council said it supported preserving as open space and for agricultural use 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. 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 later joined the agreement in 1984.

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Stoltz said the fair is not a commercial event because it benefits the Living History Centre, a nonprofit organization. He said fair officials intend to “leave the greenbelt better than it was before by planting 1,000 oak trees in it.”

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 California 23. 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 the site has been sold to a developer.

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Fair officials said they intend to apply by the end of next week for a permit to use the land for eight consecutive weekends, beginning May 6. They said they have not filed an application yet because they were gathering the proper papers.

County planner Paul Porter said that once an application is filed, the county will add the letter from Thousand Oaks in its staff report on the project. In addition, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Simi Valley and Camarillo will have a chance to comment on the application during a 30-day review period after it is filed, he said.

The Moorpark City Council was scheduled Wednesday night to discuss the fair. Numerous opponents were expected to show up, and several city officials said they may write a letter similar to the one Thousand Oaks sent to the Board of Supervisors.


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