Activists to Submit Initiative on Growth

Anti-growth activists expect to submit an initiative to Oxnard's city clerk today that would curb urban sprawl in one of Ventura County's most pro-development cities.

The move comes two days after the Oxnard City Council postponed action on a proposal that would have established an urban growth boundary around the county's largest city and restricted development on the Oxnard Plain's rich farmland through 2020.

Council members raised questions Tuesday night about the effect such a measure would have on possible expansion of Oxnard Airport.

"What I heard last night was a bunch of mush," Richard Francis, a leader of Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources, said Wednesday. "Leadership is failing in this community. It's only when leadership fails that citizens feel it's necessary to take matters into their own hands."

The council is expected to consider the matter at its next meeting, but Francis said he cannot wait to begin collecting the 6,100 signatures needed by June 1 for the measure to be placed on the November ballot.

The proposal under consideration Tuesday, a compromise between city leaders and SOAR backers, hadprovisions that would have preserved the potential for two large housing developments.

The new initiative would not provide any special dispensations for particular projects, Francis said.

All but a handful of the 20 or more people who spoke Tuesday supported SOAR's efforts.

But the council declined to act, despite the urging of Councilman Tom Holden.

"This is a proposal I'm hearing support of by consensus of the council," he said. "This does nothing more than lock us into a 2020 plan we should be following anyway."

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