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PORT HUENEME : RV Resort Foes Decry Hearing in Eureka

Opponents of a proposed recreational vehicle resort in Port Hueneme on Thursday turned out to protest a California Coastal Commission decision that postponed and transferred a hearing on the proposal from Long Beach to Eureka.

The hearing on the beachfront RV resort was initially scheduled for Aug. 10, but the commission rescheduled the hearing for Sept. 13 in Eureka, saying it did not have the information necessary to vote on the issue.

“I’m astonished with the unfairness and arrogance of the Coastal Commission to hold the hearing in Eureka, the farthest possible location from the people who are going to be affected by their decision,” said Ann Miller, a 13-year Port Hueneme resident.

More than 20 residents showed up for the protest in a parking lot of Oliveira Plaza, where they also decried a trip to Sacramento by city officials to lobby state officials for the approval of the resort.

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“It’s becoming obvious that the people of Port Hueneme and the agencies involved do not support the project,” said Alan Sanders, a Port Hueneme resident and a member of the Sierra Club. “Their only option is to lobby the government.”

On Wednesday, City Manager Richard Velthoen, Director of Community Development Tom Figg and Councilman and Coastal Commissioner Dorill B. Wright went to Sacramento to speak with representatives from state agencies including the Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Trade and Commerce, Figg said.

“The purpose of our trip was to acquaint those agencies with the efforts the city has made to accommodate the concerns of the California Fish and Game Department and the Coastal Commission,” Figg said. “We wanted to enlist their support in the project as it proceeds through the Coastal Commission.”

Residents said they were annoyed because it is nearly impossible for many of them to make the 1,400-mile round trip between Ventura and Eureka, and they wanted the Coastal Commission to reschedule the hearing for October, when it is scheduled to meet in Long Beach again.

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Figg said if the hearing is postponed until October, the entire project is delayed for at least another nine months.

The city, Figg said, agreed not to do any construction from the middle of March to early October when the California least tern and western snowy plover are in their breeding season.

But residents argued that the city has already waited five years, so they do not understand why the city cannot wait another year, particularly when there will be a new majority on the City Council.

“There is no need to expedite this project,” said Jon Sharkey, who is running for City Council. “The new council may overturn the entire project.”

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