Fagan Canyon proposal will be on June ballot for voters’ decision

March 15, 2006
Santa Paula City Council

The Fagan Canyon development proposal is headed for the June 6 ballot, but not as a referendum to overturn the City Council’s December vote to build up to 2,147 homes just north of Santa Paula.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe Fagan Canyon development proposal is headed for the June 6 ballot, but not as a referendum to overturn the City Council’s December vote to build up to 2,147 homes just north of Santa Paula.The new measure came after a series of Council votes last week when the Council rescinded its approval of the development on Monday - the focus of the referendum petition circulated by We CARE - and finalized its decision at a special meeting Thursday to craft a city ballot measure.Members of We CARE were critical of the Council’s decision to place their own measure on the June ballot - when they hoped their own referendum would appear after a legal challenge from Centex Homes was not supported by the courts - and several urged that the Council not act too fast.John Wisda of We CARE said that the development measure should be delayed until the November election or that the proposed development be reconfigured and reconsidered.“This is really confusing, last-minute and hasty...let’s take the time to do it right,” by foregoing measure and coming up with a better Fagan Canyon development plan noted Wisda.Several speakers were highly critical of the Council while others - although questioning their action in putting a city measure on the ballot - thanked them for their hard work and decision to rescind their December development decision.At one point when Councilwoman Mary Ann Krause was addressing the chamber a member of the audience attempted to interrupt her, bringing a sharp rebuke from Mayor Rick Cook who told the man he would have to leave if his actions continued.Later, when the Council voted to approve the ballot measure, one man leaving the chamber made a disrespectful hand gesture toward the dais.
During public comment rancher Ken Chapman said he was pleased that the city had posted extensive information regarding the issue on the Web site, but cautioned that land-use element language in the measure could include more development in Adams Canyon if approved.“I would feel a lot better about the whole thing if you added something to the measure that would not an effect on Adams,” now and in the future said Chapman.Ralph Fernandez addressed the issue that all along has been the top concern of We CARE: “Traffic is going to be enormous and the effect on people living in Santa Paula will be tremendous,” he said.One speaker questioned whether or not the meeting was legal and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz addressed the process for special meetings.In addition, Bobkiewicz said that the full documents presented Thursday night had also been made available on the Web site, although the city was not legally required to provide them at that time.“We did meet the legal requirement and also went out of our way because of the importance” to post the documents so that people had access to same 24-hours before the meeting, he noted.Councilman Gabino Aguirre said that comments from several speakers that the Council had been “manipulated by the developer” were far from accurate.“Personally, no one tells me what or how to think,” and the Council worked long and hard to reach their decision that the Fagan Canyon development “at this time and at this place” will benefit the community.Aguirre urged that people, no matter what position they have on Fagan Canyon development, should become involved with the community in the upcoming vote.

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