Oxnard Will Attempt to Annex Area of Harbor : Politics: Critics contend the move is part of a city plot to acquire the beach areas surrounding the marina.
Oxnard has decided to move forward with a plan to annex the water area of the Channel Islands Harbor, dismissing charges that the city’s true motive is to eventually acquire Silver Strand and other beach areas surrounding the marina.
The City Council decided Tuesday to seek approval to annex the water area of the Channel Islands Harbor--currently an unincorporated part of the county.
Oxnard leaders said the plan is intended to reduce confusion over who provides fire, police and other services to the county-owned and operated harbor.
But some Ventura County officials have charged that money is the true motive. The proposal would also bring the city an extra $100,000 annually--or about 20% of the $500,000 in property tax revenue collected from docks and boats at the popular marina.
County Supervisor John K. Flynn, whose district includes the harbor, said the plan may be the beginning of an aggressive power play by cash-starved Oxnard--one he vows to block.
“I think the city may be interested in annexing all of the beach areas,” said Flynn, who was upset that he had not been contacted by Oxnard about the proposal. “It’s hard for me to believe that they would only go after the water.”
Leaders of the Channel Islands Beach Community Services District, comprised of Silver Strand, Hollywood by-the-Sea and Hollywood beaches, voiced similar concerns after Tuesday’s council meeting.
“I think the community likes the separation (from Oxnard),” said Marcia Marcus, one of the district’s five directors. “What I’m concerned about is that this is a move to take us over.”
Richard J. Maggio, Oxnard’s community development director, strongly rejected those charges.
“Our interest is only in the water, period,” Maggio said. “We’re not interested in anything else.”
Mayor Manuel Lopez said the city would have been much more tactful if annexing the beaches was its true goal.
“If we were planning on annexing Silver Strand and Hollywood beaches, this would be a horrible way to do it,” Lopez said. “If you want to annex an area, you have to make sure that an area wants to be annexed.”
The water area of the harbor--along with the beach areas--is included in Oxnard’s sphere of influence as approved by the Ventura County Local Agency Formation Commission, a state agency that deals with jurisdictional matters, Maggio said.
The annexation still has to be approved by LAFCO now that Oxnard has moved forward with the plan, however--and that may not be easy.
Flynn, who is chairman of the five-member LAFCO board, said the city simply does not have the votes on the board to pull it off.
Supervisor Maria VanderKolk and city council members from Thousand Oaks and Ventura are also on the commission, along with a fifth member who holds no elected office.
Oxnard has hired Bob Braitman, a former executive director of LAFCO, to write the city’s annexation proposal and guide it through.
If Braitman is successful, he will receive 10% of the city’s first-year revenues from the harbor, or about $10,000. But he will not be paid anything if the plan is rejected, he said.
Braitman dismissed charges that Oxnard intends to annex the beach area as “conspiracy theories.”
The Channel Islands Harbor covers more than 300 acres of land and water. The county spent $1 million to dig the harbor and borrowed another $7 million over the years to pay for improvements since the marina opened in 1965. The county leases most of the surrounding land to developers, who have built restaurants, condominiums, and about 3,600 boat slips.