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VENTURA : Suggestions Sought on Mall Expansion

Ventura city planners and the developer of the Buenaventura Mall will hold a meeting Thursday to take suggestions from residents about a proposal to expand the mall to nearly twice its size, making it the largest retail shopping center in Ventura County.

The public meeting will be a chance for residents to say what they like or don’t like about the proposed expansion, said Lori Gatto, vice president of Santa Monica-based MaceRich Co., which owns the mall.

At the last public meeting in February, more than 100 residents--most of whom live near the mall--came to give their views. Some residents didn’t want the expansion at all, and others said they were worried about parking, traffic, pollution and noise problems that would result from the expansion.

“We are considering significant alterations to the project because of the input,” said Gatto, who declined to give specific details until Thursday’s meeting. “We don’t want to create something that they don’t like.”

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The proposed expansion would add three more department stores to the mall, which is bordered by Main Street, Mills Road and Telegraph Road. It is anchored now by a J. C. Penney store on the north and a Broadway store to the south.

A second level would be added, and two multilevel parking structures would be built.

An environmental report on the proposed expansion is due to be released in late May. If approved by city officials in the fall, construction would begin next year and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 1995, Gatto said.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Ventura City Hall’s community meeting room.

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