On Wednesday August 26, the Camarillo City Council concluded a marathon five hour-plus contentious meeting, ending in an acceptance by a 3 to 2 councilmember vote of more water use and continued runaway growth.
Despite a near record number of concerned and outraged citizens voicing their opposition to granting “will serve” water letters and other documents to a controversial Springville development the Camarillo City Council passed the resolution with Bill Little, Mike Morgan and Charlotte Craven voting in favor and Jan McDonald and Kevin Kildee opposed. Jan McDonald voiced a grave concern on the pace of approval calling it “light-speed” and thus could not have been stopped.
Opponents argued that the city, by granting the will serve letters, will: undermine the city’s state mandated water use reductions, risk high fines to existing residents, drain our water aquifers, increase water costs, increase traffic jams and accidents, decrease our shrinking green belt surrounding the city, add to general development sprawl, and greatly increase noise and crime.
There were charges directed to the council by public speakers of cronyism, failure to communicate to the public, lack of transparency, back room dealings, and a charge of legal chicanery directed to the city attorney Brian A. Pierik. As a Libertarian attending it was a refreshing, spirited example of democracy in action at its founding local level. At its worst the council members, acting mayor, the city attorney and city manager exhibited a growing intolerance to the public’s enthusiasm and involvement for each speaker opposed to the resolution.
More disturbing for this Libertarian was the 5-0 council votes without opposition or discussion to accept an ordinance to require permits for small residential rooftop solar systems to be in compliance with a new state law. Apparently it has never occurred to this council, staff nor the city attorney that the city could be in compliance with the state mandate by simply not requiring a permit to install rooftop solar systems. Another disturbing 5-0 vote passed to approve a new definition of “arcade” that will require more expenses and hoops for small business owners to obey if they choose to add video games to their existing businesses.
A final contentious code issue concerned Single-Room Occupancy facilities with the council essentially increasing the square footage requirement to that of a small studio apartment becoming the highest of all other Ventura County cities that have included SRO’s into their building code. Opposition against SRO’s included increased traffic and lack of infrastructure to support increased density buildings. The council voted 4-1 in favor with Council member Charlotte Craven opposed.
Paul Githens – The views and opinions in this article are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Ventura County Libertarian Party or its members.