Arbor Exec. Homes: Meeting held on new development at Sparkuhl Ranch

April 12, 2017
Santa Paula News

The developers of Arbor Executive Homes met with about 70 area residents Thursday to discuss an upcoming residential project that will place 19 single-family homes behind existing residences. 

The Arbor development, the former Sparkuhl Ranch located behind Cliff Drive and accessible via Forest Drive, was first approved in 2005. Late last year the project was brought back to the Planning Commission for a permit extension.

The at-times heated April 6 meeting brought questions about grading, traffic, pollution, noise and flooding, among other issues raised during the gathering held at the Community Center.

Ruth Mansi and her brother Matt Mansi of the family-owned Aldersgate

Investment Co. were questioned during the open meeting that included renderings of most of the new homes that will be eight different designs.

The property is just shy of 12 acres and is being targeted for 19 executive homes with a price now estimated to start in the low $700,000s. The 2,600 to 3,500 square foot homes, most on approximately half-acre lots, will not be in a gated community with the property open to the public. There will be a small park of approximately half-an acre.

Natural landscaping will be retained as much as possible on the property, located near Santa Paula Creek.

“All the homes that back Cliff Drive are one-story,” so Ruth said no views would be obstructed.  

During construction rock will be crushed on site and 500 to 600 loads will be hauled over county property with permission from the Ventura County Watershed District.  

“We’re excited to have that,” permit noted Ruth.

The General Plan anticipated the traffic impacts from the project and other infill development, as well as from Limoneira East Area 1.

The state and the city will be regulating various aspects of the plan.

Although there will be no streetlights in the development the city does mandate sidewalks.

There were numerous questions following the presentation by the Mansis’ including whether or not there will be a Home Owners Association — unknown at this time — and odor impacts from the SPHS FFA Farm.

The proximity of the farm said Matt would be disclosed to buyers. 

When questioned about rock crushing Ruth said the approximate tonnage is estimated at about 600 cubic tons; construction hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Rock said Matt would be used on site in landscaped and other areas including for some walls. 

Dirt will be imported for the job but not at any amount that would not make the project profitable; hauling will take place on county property but other hauling needs will be on city streets and dust will be controlled with a water truck.

Several people questioned emergency access and Matt said there would be turnarounds for trash trucks and fire engines; in case of emergencies there are gates to county property that fire can unlock. Santa Paula Fire reviewed the plan and found no problem with it.

When asked about construction workforce Matt said “90 percent of our contractors are from Ventura County,” and in addition they are working with Realtor Kay Wilson-Bolton. 

When questioned about other projects Matt said they are all over the map both physically and in scope. Aldersgate Investment, owned by the Mansis’ father Ernie Mansi, has or is building mixed use as well as apartments and “We’ve built single-family homes of a similar size in Thousand Oaks,” where they did not have the challenges of rocky property.Another development in Camarillo had to overcome seismic issues.  

Tree removal, replacement, preservation and protection during construction were also addressed and Ruth said the company works with an arborist.

Matt estimated that the first phase of homes — built in groups of three or four — would take about 18 months including site work of two to three months.  

Some in the audience chuckled when Matt was asked about flooding danger and he said Matt “none,” and he noted FEMA would not allow construction in a flood zone.

Water rights, he replied to a question, were secured in 2005.

Traffic was a major issue for many in the audience who said the existing study was prepared years ago and is no longer viable. 

“We’ve asked repeatedly for an updated and cumulative,” traffic study by the city, said one speaker.

When asked about impacts on a nearby elementary school Matt said the issue would be addressed with the city. 

When asked, he said construction noise couldn’t be mitigated.

Although not certain when they will be breaking ground Matt said it should be soon as the drawings are in the Planning Department. 

Deputy Planning Director James Mason said the City Council would review the project at a future date.

“Our father entitled this,” development said Ruth, “and he wanted to continue on. We’re going to do it unless there is some sort of act of God or something.”    

Those that signed in at the informational meeting were told they would be updated on the process of the new development.

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