On June 26, I attended a meeting of the Ventura City Council. On the agenda was a proposal by a homeowner to divide his property and build a second home on the divided section. Since this property is in a residential area zoned for one-dwelling parcel, he was asking for a variance.
All lots in the area are on septic systems. The neighbors surrounding his property had a serious concern about the ability of the subsoil to handle the extra liquid. There was also a very steep hill behind his property, and the drainage from that to be considered.
At several Planning Commission meetings, these serious considerations were brought up. The Planning Commission voted down his request, stressing it was a bad precedent to start. There were many other very valid negative reasons against the proposal. Therefore, and rightly so, the Planning Commission voted against it.
Now, an appeal was being made by the homeowner to the City Council to rescind the Planning Commission decision.
It has always been my impression that the Planning Commission was appointed to handle decisions of this kind, as the backgrounds and experience of the commission members cover expertise in most of the fields covered by the commission.
I find I am mistaken. The City Council, with nowhere near the background and experience of the Planning Commission, completely overruled the commission in granting the permission to subdivide. If I were on the Planning Commission, I would feel that my efforts and time were wasted if my advice and judgments were so overruled.
There were at least 40 people there to protest this subdivision, people with very serious and valid considerations who were dismissed as being â€œemotionallyâ€? involved. It was a very shabby way to treat homeowners and constituents, a very bad show of misplaced power.
â€”Edith Toohey, Ventura