VENTURA : 95 Acres Sought for Redevelopment Area

The Ventura Planning Commission has received a detailed plan to add 95 acres to the existing redevelopment area--a proposal that would generate more than $90 million for city projects over the next 30 years.

No decision was made on the Redevelopment Agency amendment, but the panel on Tuesday did schedule a final vote for April 25. At that time, commissioners will recommend that the City Council either approve or deny the plan.

"I'm sure we'll go for it," said Ingrid Elsel, who heads the Ventura Planning Commission. "I can't imagine anyone not wanting it."

The existing redevelopment area includes 155 acres and runs from California 33 east to Palm Street and from Poli Street and Fix Way south to Thompson Boulevard.

The new area would be extended five blocks east to Ash Street and would include a wedge of land between San Jon Road and the Southern Pacific railroad tracks.

Elsel said the additional tax money generated by expanding the agency would benefit the city's ongoing revitalization plans.

"Downtown Ventura is on the brink of really starting to blossom," Elsel said. "There will be more money available, and it includes sections of the city that should be considered for redevelopment."

State redevelopment laws allow cities to declare certain areas blighted. Those areas then generate extra tax revenue for cities by diverting new taxes to a special fund.

Redevelopment agencies often borrow against those anticipated revenues and spend the money on projects they feel will help spur private investment in the area.

The City Council, sitting as the Redevelopment Agency, will consider the amendment this summer.

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