Santa Paula Branch Line
Trail compromise crafted

February 25, 2000
Santa Paula News
Farmers that took on the Board of Supervisors and Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) won a compromise over a proposed recreational trail that area growers have been fighting for almost seven years. Portions of the Santa Paula Branch Line Recreational Trail will not be constructed for at least 15 years because of the agreement between supervisors, VCTC and the Ventura County Farm Bureau, although the river valley cities of Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru, as well as Ventura, could still construct trail areas within their limits and parallel Highway 126.Stopped for now is bike and pedestrian trail construction in about 24 miles of unincorporated land dominated by agriculture in between the cities.Farmers from throughout the Highway 126 area had banded together to fight construction on and near their lands, citing concerns of liability, vandalism, crop theft and trespassing. In addition, farmers were concerned that growing operations would be hampered near the trail to allow for setbacks - a 100 foot buffer zone - the trail could require.The proposed trail follows the Santa Clara River and railroad corridor along Highway 126 from Montalvo almost to the county line in Rancho Camulos, east of Piru. It would take at least a decade to complete and cost a total of $49 million. It is projected that as many as 600,000 bike riders and pedestrians could use the trail annually. Land for the trail was purchased by the VCTC for $8.5 million several years ago.
Farmers have been offered safeguards to ease the impact of the trail on their growing operations, ranging from a 6 foot tall fence along portions of the trail, posted “Rules of the Road” for trail users, gates to close the trail at dusk and surveillance cameras to keep an eye on trail users.The Board of Supervisors voted on the new agreement Tuesday and VCTC Commissioners okayed it last week. The Ventura County Farm Bureau is expected to vote on it in the next few months.A March 3 VCTC meeting will hear public comment on the trail Master Plan and Environmental Impact Review; the meeting will be held at 1 p.m. at Camarillo City Hall.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.