The Ojai City Council voted 5 to 0 this week to deny a controversial eight-lot subdivision the developer said has cost him $75,000 to process through the city in the past two years.
Ojai citrus grower Joseph Macaluso is trying to build five residences for his children and two to sell on 10 acres near Nordhoff Cemetery.
The council, certifying the environmental impact report for the proposed subdivision, found that Macaluso’s plan to build seven houses, together with other anticipated development in Ojai Valley, would contribute to increased smog and traffic.
Because the valley’s population has exceeded the 39,504 allowed under the county air quality management plan, any new development will cause too much smog, the report said. But Macaluso contends he filed his application before a county clerical error allowed several hundred more building permits to be issued than are allowed under the management plan.
Ojai officials said most of Macaluso’s expenses, including $32,000 for an environmental impact report, came after the city warned him that he faced new county restrictions on growth in the Ojai Valley.