LAFCo last stop in long road of Limoneira Company East Area 1 development

January 12, 2011
Santa Paula News

The last stop in the long road to development of Limoneira Company East Area 1 is the January 19 hearing before LAFCo (Local Area Formation Commission), the panel that will decide whether or not the 541-acre property located east of the city can be annexed into Santa Paula.

The LAFCo hearing will be held at 10 a.m. at the Ventura County Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura, in the Administration Building/Board of Supervisors Chambers.

Santa Paula voters overwhelmingly approved Measure G in June 2008, which allowed the scenic acres on the eastern edge of the city - past Hallock Drive on the north side of Highway 126 - to be targeted for residential and commercial development. Limoneira plans to build about 1,500 homes at various price points in the area, as well as 150,000 square feet of light-industrial and retail space, 250,000 square feet of commercial space, a new, state-of-the-art elementary school, high school and post-secondary educational facilities, new fire and police stations, athletic fields, parks, hiking trails, a civic center and new amphitheater. Approximately 79 acres will be designated open space, and another 55 acres will be set aside as an agricultural preserve.

According to company officials, design and construction will use environmentally sound practices with eco-friendly building and landscape materials, and renewable energy sources patterned after Limoneira’s existing green practices including its famous solar orchard at the company’s Santa Paula headquarters. “It will be a sustainable community where residents can live, work and play locally,” noted Limoneira Company President/CEO Harold Edwards.

Even though voters approved the plans by an almost 83 percent margin, the property still has to go through the paces of pre-development including being brought into the city, the decision made by LAFCo. The proposed development has been in the planning stages since about 2002 with a master plan crafted with community participation. “We listened carefully to Santa Paula residents,” said Edwards, “and created a master plan that will be a great benefit to our community.”

The combined economic value of the completed community is expected to exceed $1 billion upon build-out, and proponents anticipate it will create millions of dollars in new tax revenue for Santa Paula and the Santa Clara River Valley corridor. “By passing Measure G, Santa Paula residents understood the need for additional affordable housing in their community and a stronger business base to bring in tax revenue to the city,” said Edwards.

And, as the next step, “We will now be following through with the Ventura LAFCo process so that we can implement the many benefits that our community needs and showed they want by overwhelmingly approving Measure G in the first place.”

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