What should Ventura County be like in 2035?

April 07, 2010
Santa Paula News

What might Ventura County be like with 200,000 more people?

The “Compact for a Sustainable Ventura County” process, sponsored by the Ventura County Council of Governments, is exploring answers to that question.

Last fall residents attended six workshops where they mapped out their own pictures of what they’d like life to be like in Ventura County with 200,000 more residents. These workshops, combined with one held in 2007, resulted in 47 maps, each representing ideas from a small group of county residents.

Participants were asked to name the top challenges faced in the county.  Their top three issues, in order of importance, are: 1) housing costs, 2) traffic congestion, and 3) loss of open space or agriculture. Workshop participants explored a variety of ideas for how growth might unfold. Some of the common themes included interest in a more substantial set of public transportation options and continued use of growth boundaries to keep growth from spilling into the countryside around cities. There was a lot of variation in the results as well. For example, some groups maintained the boundaries just as they are today, while others preferred an expansion of today’s growth boundaries.

Most groups explored a mix of homes that included more townhouses, condos, and apartments than what has been built recently in the county. For reference, about 75 percent of recent housing starts in the county have been single-unit homes.

A majority of groups explored adding people and jobs in town-in existing downtowns or along commercial streets-in addition to exploring changes on currently vacant land.

Groups also favored creating new places that mix homes with schools, shopping, and jobs.

These workshop maps have now been summarized into three simulations of where the next generation of residents might live, work, and shop, and how they might travel around the county. These simulations retain the common themes and the diversity of input from the mapping workshops.

Starting April 14 at the Camarillo library, five Sustainability Summits and an online questionnaire present opportunities for all county residents to tell city and county leaders what they like and don’t like about each simulation. The project website, VenturaCountyCompact.org, will have information about the simulations, what they might mean for families, the economy and the environment, and a questionnaire for residents.

According to Patti Walker, Mayor of Fillmore and one of the co-chairs of this effort, “the ‘Compact for a Sustainable Ventura County’ is an effort to make a long-term, countywide game plan to be prepared for growth if and when it happens. We hope many residents will share their reactions to the scenarios and other ideas they have about how to keep the county sustainable and a great place to live as changes inevitably come over the next few decades.”


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