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OXNARD : Churches May Open in Industrial Areas

Responding to a request by church leaders, the Oxnard Planning Commission has approved a plan to allow churches to locate in the city’s industrial areas and business parks.

But the commission rejected church officials’ requests to allow church-sponsored schools in those areas, excepting Sunday schools. The measure goes next to the City Council for approval.

The ordinance was conceived in 1992, when Oxnard religious leaders asked the City Council to allow churches to buy property in industrial areas, which typically sells for less than land in commercial and residential areas.

“Square-foot costs for industrial property tend to be half or a third of what commercial land is worth,” said Jeffrey Brown of Calvary Chapel of Oxnard. “For many young, growing churches, just as with young families, the cost of land is prohibitive.”

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Other major cities in Ventura County already allow churches to open in industrial areas, Planning Director Matt Winegar said.

The commissioners debated whether the presence of large assemblies near manufacturing plants could create the potential for hazardous situations.

But in the end, the commission agreed that the required review would guarantee that permits would be granted only when conditions are safe.


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