City May Designate Redevelopment Zone
The City Council on Tuesday9 will consider a proposal to declare 2,647 acres in Oxnard blighted and in need of redevelopment.
A consultant’s report identifies a vast stretch of property, much of it along Saviers Road and Oxnard Boulevard. It includes numerous commercial sites, including The Esplanade mall, the Wagon Wheel area and the Oxnard Town Center.
By designating the area as a redevelopment zone, the city can use property tax dollars collected from the zone to help pay for improvements.
“If you drive that area, you see it is really old and really needs attention,” interim City Manager Prisilla Hernandez said.
The city came under criticism earlier this year because its redevelopment proposal aims to declare some farmland in the Oxnard Town Center blighted.
In the 1980s, the city proposed the Oxnard Town Center project and hoped to attract shopping mall developers to the 270-acre tract, which is near the Ventura city limits. But the recession hit, and the Town Center has remained mostly vacant. Much of the property is still being farmed.
The state Department of Conservation in March questioned Oxnard’s intention to declare farmland blighted, saying that agricultural land is off limits for redevelopment. But city officials say that because the area was already designated for urbanization and has fallen into economic hardship, it should be included in the redevelopment proposal.
An environmental report on the project comes before the Planning Commission this month. The City Council will take a vote on the issue in November, officials said.