Port Hueneme city staff Wednesday night rejected claims that a $2.3-million recreational vehicle park proposed for the southeast end of Hueneme Beach would lose $190,000 in its first two years and would never be a good investment for the city.
John Imler, a former RV park developer hired by park opponents, said at the City Council meeting that the 10-acre project would make less than $100,000 a year once it is established, principally because the proposed location is so far from the freeway and the area holds little attraction for tourists.
“There are lots of beaches up and down California and they’re a whole lot nicer than this one,” Imler said.
But Larry Williams, a consultant for the city, said Port Hueneme plans to build an “RV resort,” that has more amenities than an “RV park” and will attract enough visitors to bring an annual profit of $400,000. Williams’ consulting firm, Williams-Kuebelbeck and Associates Inc. of Irvine., conducted a 1990 study that the city has been using for its projected profits.
But Imler said he believes the city’s planned park would fail because the site is nine miles from the Ventura Freeway, too far for overnight RV drivers to travel. “There’s a general feeling that they would go up to five miles,” Imler said. “And that’s only if necessary.”
Williams said he considers Port Hueneme very attractive to RV travelers. “I consider a Southern California beach, 69 miles from L.A., as being in a large urban area with a very special feature,” he said.
The Williams-Kuebelbeck study said the city could reasonably expect the 143-space park to have nearly a 70% annual occupancy rate in the first few years of operation.
But Imler said the city’s proposed rental fee for RV spaces is 15% higher than that of other facilities in the area, and that the 70% occupancy rate is too high an expectation. He projects a 29% occupancy rate in the first year and 45.5% rate when the park is well established.