Agriculture, retail stores, a new university and planned communities all appear to be thriving in the Ventura County city of Camarillo. Rolling green hills, a mild inland climate cooled by Point Mugu ocean breezes and a population largely made up of families and seniors contribute to its quiet, home-life reputation.
How it grew
The 60,000 residents of Camarillo live on one of the last Mexican land grants, owned by Adolpho Camarillo from 1864 to 1958. The city, once a stop along a stagecoach route, incorporated in 1964.
Bisected by the 101 Freeway, the active agricultural area is slowly being paved over by planned developments.
Also taking root is Cal State University Channel Islands — known as "Sushi" because of its CSUCI acronym — which opened to its first freshman class in the fall of 2003.
The bucolic landscape inspires local artists. The new university has artists working on campus at the Studio Channel Islands Art Center, where visitors can watch painters, potters and others apply their talents.
The small Paseo Camarillo Cinemas has three screens showing foreign and offbeat feature-length movies.
The Saturday morning farmers market in Old Town Camarillo is a draw as a community event. The certified market is a nonprofit endeavor run by volunteers to benefit the work of Camarillo Hospice.
Every Saturday rain or shine, from 8 a.m. to noon, about 50 booths are set up to sell fruits and vegetables, mostly from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
The market is held in a large, open parking lot closed off to cars at 2220 Ventura Blvd. to encourage walking, talking and shopping.
Good new, bad news
With the opening of the university, Camarillo has experienced an influx of professional-level teaching and administrative jobs and expects more small businesses to serve the university community.
Like most areas in the county, housing prices have risen dramatically the last few years, making it increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to purchase.
About 80% of the housing is single-family residences, with the remaining a mix of condos, apartments and mobile homes. Leisure Village, a development for seniors 55 and over, also provides housing in the community.
On the market
At Village at the Park, a newly planned development under construction next to the Ventura Freeway, single-family homes start in the high $500,000s and town houses in the high $300,000s.
Existing single-family homes for sale in Camarillo range from a tiny starter at $379,900 to a lavish, custom Mediterranean villa near the private Spanish Hills Country Club for $4.95 million. Condominiums and town homes start at $275,000.
A one-bedroom, one-bath condominium in Leisure Village was recently listed for $260,000 with other homes going for as much as $600,000 in the development north of the 101 Freeway off Santa Rosa Road.
Three school districts serve Camarillo. Pleasant Valley School District — for elementary and middle schools — achieved an average 808 Academic Performance Index out of a possible 1,000 score for the 2004 school year. Somis Union Elementary District had an average of 714, while Oxnard Union High School District-supervised Camarillo High scored 729.