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Committee Extends Comment Period on Amphitheater

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Debate on the environmental impacts of a 16,000-seat amphitheater and golf course proposed for Camarillo was extended Wednesday after two agencies expressed reservations.

The county’s Environmental Review Committee agreed to extend the review period on the project’s environmental report until July 9 to allow the National Parks Service and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy a chance to comment.

Both agencies said they had been unaware that the document was released but that they have concerns over the project’s impact on wetlands, waterways and the adjoining Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

The committee, composed of representatives from county planning, air quality, public works, agricultural, fire and environmental health agencies, is charged with determining whether the document is technically adequate and meets the guidelines of the California Environmental Quality Act.

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A handful of speakers addressed the committee Wednesday afternoon, including officials from the Point Mugu Navy base, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Defense Center and California Coastal Conservancy.

Vivian Goo, deputy public works officer for the Naval Air Weapons Station at Point Mugu, told the panel that the amphitheater, which would be built in county-owned Camarillo Regional Park, would sit in the flight path of the base runway. Navy planes, including C-130s, fly 1,000 feet above and 100 feet to the side of the site of the proposed entertainment venue, generating noise as loud as a bus driving 30 feet away.

As many as eight to 10 planes fly overhead each hour, day and night, she said.

“We’re not here to stop anything,” Goo said later. “We’re basically just making sure the developers and the county are aware.”

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The report concluded that the 375-acre project, designed as a moneymaker for the county parks department, would cause unavoidable impacts to traffic, noise and wildlife habitat at the park. The park sits between the Santa Monica Mountain foothills and Calleguas Creek.

Coastal Conservancy official Peter Brand suggested that the county instead restore the park’s wetland and riparian habitat as a natural flood control system.

“The county will save more in sediment removal, habitat mitigation and flood damage costs than it will make in commercial revenues from development of the park,” he said.

Officials from the Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Defense Center also expressed reservations about the proposal.

Once the agencies comment, the county parks staff will respond. Then the county committee will meet again at 1:30 p.m. July 16 at the County Government Center in Ventura to take further public testimony before passing the document on to the Board of Supervisors.


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