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Fair Drops Plans for Ventura County Site

Times Staff Writer

An application to hold the Renaissance Pleasure Faire on a site in eastern Ventura County will be withdrawn because of growing opposition from area residents, an official said Wednesday.

Kevin Patterson, the fair’s community outreach director, said another Southern California community is willing to have the festival during the same time period, although he declined to identify the community or to say whether it is in the Los Angeles area. The fair’s new location will be announced at a March 20 news conference, he said.

“There is not a receptive political climate in Ventura County for the Renaissance Pleasure Faire,” Patterson said. “We will respectfully withdraw our application from the planning department this week to allow residents of Ventura County to have their quiet, insular atmosphere.”

Fair organizers had applied Friday to the Ventura County Planning Division for a special use permit to hold the festival on a 139-acre site between Moorpark and Thousand Oaks during eight consecutive weekends beginning May 6. The application was filed after nearly two months of controversy over the proposed site.

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Refunds will be available for the several thousand people who bought tickets to attend the fair in Ventura County but who may not wish to attend at the new site, Patterson said.

The decision came as a welcome surprise to residents near the proposed site, many of whom had opposed the fair because of concern that it would generate too much traffic. Fair operators said the event would have brought 4,702 cars into the area at the event’s peak hour Saturdays and 5,762 cars at its peak hour Sundays.

Officials from the nearby cities of Moorpark and Thousand Oaks had also expressed disapproval of the proposed location in the Tierra Rejada Greenbelt, an unincorporated area of eastern Ventura County about a quarter of a mile west of the Moorpark Freeway.

Beverly Harris, president of Concerned Neighbors for Preservation of the Tierra Rejada Valley Greenbelt, a citizens group, expressed relief Wednesday. Her group had collected about 850 signatures on petitions opposing the site. The petitions were submitted to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, which has final approval over special use permits.

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“It’s great; it’s terrific,” Harris said. “But I’m surprised they even filed an application after all the negativism against it.”

Fair organizers announced in January that they had rented the property from Watt Consolidated Partnership of Santa Monica. They had been looking for a place to hold the annual event since April, when the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission approved a developer’s request to build a gated community on the fair’s longtime site in Agoura.

In addition, the fair was unlikely to have its application approved in time for the May 6 opening, county planners said. But ticket brochures advertising that the fair would be held in eastern Ventura County were distributed.


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