VENTURA : Housing Project Site Called Contaminated

An environmental consultant hired by opponents of a Ventura Avenue housing project has charged that the site is contaminated with oil field and industrial wastes.

In a package mailed to Ventura’s mayor and other city officials last week, consultant Robert Cashier asserted that “the Neel property is totally unsuitable for residential development both now and in the near future.”

The Neel family, a longtime Ventura farming clan, owns 26 acres of land west of Ventura Avenue, between Stanley Avenue and Seneca Street.

Kinko’s Service Corp., the national copy service giant, owns 22 adjoining acres to the south. Company officials have warned the city that they may move their headquarters out of Ventura if the city does not permit residential development on the nearby Neel property.


The Neels are asking the council to give them permission Monday to build up to 120 houses on their Ventura Avenue property. They say they also intend to construct bike paths and a small park.

But the small-business owners whose storefronts line the Neel and the Kinko’s property have opposed the development, saying their new neighbors would object to the noise and smell of their oil-related industries.

The business owners hired environmental attorney Glen Reiser, who then contracted Cashier to deliver his opinion on the Neel site. Cashier based his opinions on historical data and aerial photos of the area, which show that lands were oil dump sites in past decades.