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11-Building Project OKd for Gateway

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

After careful consideration, the Planning Commission has unanimously approved plans for a large commercial and light industrial complex on the city’s western border adjacent to the Ventura Freeway.

The approval hinged on whether developer Moshe Silagi would be able to comply with a host of commission-imposed conditions designed to limit the visual, environmental and traffic impact on the surrounding area.

With its 5-0 vote delivered late Monday, the commission required Silagi to take appropriate steps to significantly reduce the fire danger surrounding the 11-acre site.

Silagi has a number of options, including installation of irrigation systems on neighboring property or planting fire-resistant vegetation.

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As proposed, the 141,000-square-foot complex on a small ridge near Grande Vista Drive and Business Center Circle just east of the Conejo Grade would include 11 free-standing buildings that could house up to 22 businesses.

Although the property is zoned for commercial use, its close proximity to the freeway and designation as a “city gateway” forced Silagi to agree to several conditions, including extensive landscaping to camouflage the development and more than $160,000 in road improvements.

Commissioners hope that the landscaping requirement will blend the development into the surrounding topography and retain the bucolic ambience that has come to characterize the city.

“What made this project so important is the fact that it’s a gateway to the city,” City Planner Bob Rickards said. “We’ve really tried to put our best foot forward because it’s sort of a welcome mat for Thousand Oaks.”

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Silagi will be required to pay the city to make extensive improvements to nearby Newbury Park Road and to widen the Wendy Drive offramp from the Ventura Freeway. He will pay about $17,000 for the offramp widening, and the rest will go to improvements to Newbury Park Road, Grande Vista Drive and several traffic signal mitigation measures. No date has been set when road construction would begin.

Despite the commission’s unanimous support, Silagi will not be able to begin construction right away. Because the complex extends to the far end of the property, he will have to get permission from neighboring property owners to install fire-resistant vegetation and an irrigation system.

If he is unable to do that, he can either appeal the requirement to the City Council or redesign the entire project.

“I think I’ll be able to work with this,” Silagi said. “I’m very proud of the project, and I’ve worked a lot with the city to get it right and we will.”


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