After weeks on the chopping block, City Council members have voted to give developer Paul Bollinger’s Moorpark Country Club Estates a stay of execution.
During a meeting two weeks ago, council members voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that would change the zoning of the site back to its original rural designation and reduce the number of homes that could be built there.
The killing stroke would have come after the council’s second reading of the ordinance at Wednesday night’s meeting, but in the interim, Bollinger and Dallas-based Centex Homes entered into an agreement to acquire the land and build the project.
Impressed with recent progress by Centex Homes, and faced with pleas from the city’s business community to spare the development, a council majority voted 3 to 2 to send the project back to an ad hoc committee for further study. Consideration of the ordinance has also been put on indefinite hold.
Composed of Mayor Patrick Hunter and Councilman Bernardo Perez, the ad hoc committee will look into the progress Bollinger and Centex have made in acquiring the 655-acre site in north Moorpark from two separate landowners, and set down a new timeline based on their findings. “It’s painfully obvious that the principals of this partnership only work under deadlines,” Hunter said at the meeting.
The mayor and Councilman John Wozniak voted against sending the project back to the ad hoc committee, expressing frustration at the lack of progress. Other council members, however, were wary of losing two 18-hole golf courses and other amenities the Country Club Estates would bring, and setting a precedent that could scare off future developers from pursuing projects in the city.