Panel Hears Concerns Over Hidden Creek

With the prospect of 3,221 new homes in the hills northeast of town, about 40 Moorpark residents attended a city Planning Commission meeting this week to voice opinions.

Many worried that the proposed Hidden Creek Ranch development, which could add 10,000 to the city’s population, would wreck Moorpark’s rural nature.

“If we, the citizens of Moorpark, allow this to materialize, we can look forward to the loss of open space,” said Joseph Catrambone, a candidate for City Council. “This project and future ones should be put to a vote by the citizens of Moorpark, and let them decide its fate.”

Gary Austin, whose Irvine-based Messenger Investment Co. hopes to develop the property, told the audience and the commissioners Monday that most of the proposed housing would consist of single-family homes, designed to maintain the city’s small-town flavor.

“That’s the character of Moorpark, that’s what people came here for, that’s what we wanted to reflect,” he said.


For years, Messenger has pursued plans to build on about 4,300 acres near Moorpark College. The project, which could cost more than $1 billion to complete, could add more than 10,000 people to Moorpark’s population of 28,000.

As proposed, the project also would include a golf course, an equestrian center and new schools.

The commission has scheduled a hearing Feb. 12 to allow more public comment on the issue.