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Moorpark Planners Reject Bid to Expand City’s Boundaries

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Saying they do not want Moorpark to become another San Fernando Valley, planning commissioners have rejected an expansion proposal that would have allowed the city’s population to more than double in the next 20 years.

The commission voted 4 to 1 on Friday to recommend that the City Council reject a proposal to expand the city’s boundaries, increasing its size from 12.3 to 18.6 square miles, city officials said.

Commissioner Barton Miller cast the dissenting vote.

Up to 5,478 housing units have been proposed for the areas that are being considered for annexation. With the expansion, the city’s population would be expected to grow from 25,000 to about 63,000 in 20 years, Commission Chairman Michael Wesner Jr. said.

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“We feel the city is too young to try to grow that fast,” Commissioner John Torres said. “If we try to grow that fast we’re likely to turn into another San Fernando Valley.”

At the same meeting, the commissioners gave preliminary approval to three developments that could add up to 1,724 residences within existing city limits.

With these new housing units, Moorpark’s population would probably increase to about 40,000 over the next 20 years, Wesner said.

The commission chose to steer a middle course in the debate over how fast the city should grow, Wesner said.

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“We should build out the city first” before expanding its boundaries, Torres said.

Miller could not be reached for comment. But Torres said Miller voted against the current boundaries because “he wants to see us have some control.” Proponents of expanding Moorpark’s boundaries have argued that the city needs to have control over its outlying areas.

Because all the developments proposed for the city’s outskirts are within Moorpark’s area of interest, city officials would be involved in the county’s decisions, Wesner said.

Also, the owners of outlying properties can apply individually to have their land annexed, or the city may decide later to expand its boundaries, Wesner said.

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Another argument in favor of expansion has been that the city needs developers to help pay for a new highway on the north side of the city.

“We have two state highways, (California) 23 and 118 (Simi Valley Freeway), that go right through the center of our city,” Wesner said. A bypass of California 118 could help alleviate traffic problems in the city’s center, he said, adding that most of the traffic comes from trucks and other motorists who do not live in Moorpark.

At least part of the cost of a new road would be paid by the three developers who secured preliminary approval to build housing inside the existing city limits, Wesner said. Federal or state highway funds may be necessary to complete the highway, he said.

Wesner added that he believes it is healthy for city officials to consider expansion even if they decide against it for now.

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“This is the first time Moorpark’s had a chance to look at itself and what’s around it,” he said.

Moorpark’s Possible Boundaries

The Moorpark Planning Commission will recommend that the City Council reject a proposal to expand the city’s boundaries. Developers have proposed to build up to 5,478 homes on the 6.3 square miles of land that are considered for annexation.

Existing city limits

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Proposed Expansion


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