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Oak Park Neighbors Criticize Jordan Ranch : Development: Builder says park agencies stand to gain thousands of acres if project is approved.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The developer of the proposed Jordan Ranch project in eastern Ventura County had hoped to win support from Oak Park officials and residents at a special hearing Tuesday night, but ended up hearing complaints about its plans.

Representatives of Potomac Investments Associates described the planned housing development and golf course, which would be near Oak Park, during a hearing before the Oak Park Municipal Advisory Council.

The unincorporated community of 10,000 is between Thousand Oaks and Jordan Ranch.

Potomac officials said the project should be given special consideration because, if approved by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, state and national park agencies would gain thousands of acres in Ventura and Los Angeles counties for little or no money.

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If approved, entertainer Bob Hope, owner of the 2,308-acre Jordan Ranch, has offered to sell or swap 5,700 acres of his property in the Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountains for $10 million and 59 acres of federal parkland needed for an access road to the ranch.

Despite Hope’s offer, many of the 150 people who attended the hearing said they did not support the proposed housing development.

“I think it’s a bad deal,” said Oak Park resident Rosie McCabe. “If we don’t save the Jordan Ranch property and keep the developers out, we have the rest of the county to lose.”

Fred Maas, vice president of Potomac, said before the hearing Tuesday that the developer expected strong opposition from the community. “All we can hope for is that responsible elected officials will keep their minds open and are willing to listen.”

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Oak Park officials have repeatedly rejected the Jordan Ranch project as it has been proposed, saying their community would be most affected by the increased traffic and smog generated by the development.

Potomac, which has an option on Jordan Ranch, wants to build 750 homes and a tournament golf course on the property.

“I think it is going to overload our streets, our schools and our parks and recreational facilities,” Oak Park Councilman Ron Stark said. “I think the whole thing as it stands now will be really detrimental to our way of life in Oak Park.”

Councilman Duane Skavdahl agreed.

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“Essentially, all the project will do is provide a lot of things we don’t need,” Skavdahl said. “We don’t need another community for the wealthy or another golf course.”

The Municipal Advisory Council, which was set up by the state, advises the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and has no land-use authority.

However, Oak Park officials are exploring the possibility of incorporating, which would enable the community to annex Jordan Ranch. Officials said this would give Oak Park the power to regulate or prevent growth on the ranch.

County planning officials said that for Oak Park to incorporate, it must demonstrate that it can support itself financially.

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The advisory council has commissioned a study by a Pasadena consulting firm to determine whether Oak Park, which has little commercial development, meets the county’s criteria for incorporation. Officials said the study will be made public tonight during a special meeting of the Oak Park advisory council.

The Jordan Ranch project is expected to go before the Ventura County Planning Commission in October, then on to the Board of Supervisors, probably in November or December.

But a majority of the supervisors already have said they oppose the project, which violates county open-space policy, as it is proposed. They have said it probably will not pass unless it is limited to between 250 and 500 houses.

The city of Simi Valley has said it wants to annex Jordan Ranch if Hope’s deal is rejected by the county, to stop Los Angeles County from building a landfill on part of Hope’s property near the city.

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