VENTURA : State Courthouse Plan to Be Studied

The only court in California that doesn't have a courtroom may soon get a courthouse of its own.

The Ventura Planning Commission on Tuesday will consider a proposal to build a courthouse for the state 2nd District Court of Appeal in downtown Ventura.

The 30,000-square-foot Victorian-style courthouse would be located at the southeast corner of Santa Clara and Figueroa streets. The $5.7-million project is considered a key development in the city's plans to revitalize the ailing downtown.

The project is expected to generate an additional $40,000 a year in property taxes for the city and improve land values downtown.

City officials have entered into an agreement with an Orange County developer to acquire land for the courthouse, using its powers of eminent domain if necessary.

In return, the development firm Hall, Moore & Co. has agreed to lease the courthouse to the state appeal court for at least 15 years, thus guaranteeing the city a long-term tenant.

If approved, the two-story courthouse is expected to open in 1994 and will include one courtroom, plus offices for the three justices and about 36 employees. Now, the court rents offices in Ventura, one block south of the County Government Center.

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