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Zoning Changes OKd for Housing Plan

Despite neighbors’ protests, the City Council has approved a zoning change to a 21-acre site that allows for smaller lots than previously planned.

The property, on Highland Road between Oldstone Place and Wildlife Drive, had been set aside for one-acre estate housing. But developer Morrison Homes requested the change to 20,000-square-foot lots, arguing that the smaller size was more appropriate for the area and today’s real estate market.

That change required the council to alter Simi Valley’s General Plan.

Among Morrison’s concessions were a larger variety of home designs and a horse trail in order to maintain the area’s horse property status. Morrison Homes spokesman Michael Greynald estimated that houses in the development would sell for $700,000 to $800,000.

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Most of the homes will be on half-acre lots, as are most of the existing homes in the area.

Most of the neighbors in attendance at the meeting this week opposed the development because they say their own property values will decline and the city is misusing land that should be reserved for upper-income housing.

“I feel like it shortchanges the city of Simi Valley,” said Gary Walker. “I think we’re ready for bigger and better things.”

Twenty-four citizens either spoke or presented written opinions against the proposal while nine were in favor of it.

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The council members in favor of the project, however, said they believed the homes proposed for the development fit well into the area. They agreed with the developer that the Simi Valley market currently will not support multimillion-dollar homes on large lots.

They also said they were concerned that if they left the zoning at one-acre lots, the property would sit undeveloped for years.


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