THOUSAND OAKS : Panel Extends Talks on Church Project

After four meetings and more than 15 hours of discussion, the Thousand Oaks Planning Commission still has more to say about a proposed commercial, educational and residential development in Newbury Park.

Commissioners had hoped to vote Monday night on the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s plan to build a regional shopping center, retirement facilities and a school north of the Ventura Freeway at Wendy Drive.

But shortly before midnight, with many issues still outstanding, the commissioners decided to continue their discussion next Monday.

Attorney Charles Cohen, representing the church, expressed frustration at the length of the hearing, which began in September.


“We have to bring this to some form of closure,” he said. “This is an enormous strain on the church, its leadership and the consultants.”

Chairwoman Marilyn Carpenter blamed the long proceedings on the project’s complexity, and said the commission was trying to be thorough and fair.

“I do frankly get a little frustrated with the suggestion that the commission is the bad guy, that we’re stringing this out,” she said.

Monday’s discussion included testimony about the school and the retirement center, both of which would replace current facilities at the site. Harold Crook, principal of the Newbury Park Adventist Academy, told the commissioners the school buildings are deteriorating.

Church officials want to relocate the school to undeveloped land in their property’s northern end, hidden from the freeway and proposed mall by a ridge. The new location, Crook said, would re-create the rural atmosphere the school enjoyed when it was founded in 1947.

“We have Motel 6 and transients across the street,” he said. “We’re simply saying we want to return to our original setting.”