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OXNARD : Council to Weigh Ormond Beach Plans

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After years of meetings and scores of far-flung proposals, including everything from a Disney-like theme park to a 10,000-home development, Oxnard’s City Council plans to move closer to deciding the fate of Ormond Beach.

The council today plans to zero in on four land-use plans for the 1,400-acre wetlands--home to several federally protected species, including the tidewater goby fish, the California least tern, the western snowy plover and the California brown pelican.

The council plans to authorize Impact Sciences Inc. of Thousand Oaks to conduct an environmental study on the four choices, which range from leaving the area untouched to building luxury homes, a golf course and an offshore marina. The city cannot approve a final plan until the report is completed next June.

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The Baldwin Co., an Irvine-based developer that owns a large chunk of the coastal property, has scaled back its plans for the parcel since it approached the city in 1987.

According to Baldwin division President Louis Malone, the company’s plan now calls for about 5,000 homes, an 18-hole golf course, a shopping center and several schools. The plan also proposes building an offshore marina, an eco-tourist area and a coastal visitor lake area to lure tourists.

Morgan Wehtje, wildlife biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game, called Ormond Beach one of the last coastal systems of its kind in California.

Environmental activists have lobbied to stop the city from considering development south of Hueneme Road, where the 200 acres of wetlands provide habitat for more than 200 species of birds, 35 species of fish and 190 species of squirrel, opossums, skunks and raccoons.

Deanna Walsh, the city’s coastal planner, said all the plans call for wetland enhancement and protection and that sensitive areas would not be developed.

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