As many of our readers and fans have read over the past couple of weeks, Measure F removes SOAR protections from a number of farmland parcels adjacent to schools, without limits to the size of the parcels. Supporters of Measure F say removing these protections will “help” agriculture. The “help” they are offering, however, is to let owners of farmland convert the land into urban uses, such as housing tracts and shopping malls. Millions of dollars stand to be made by converting current agricultural land into tract homes, shopping malls and more.
As shown on the various maps below, conversion of farmland could extend almost a mile away from some of our county’s schools.
Loopholes Promote Sprawl
Specifically, Section 2.7(i) of Measure F removes SOAR’s requirement of a vote of the people if the farmland is adjacent to schools that are at the edge of cities (*see official language below). It would allow farmland to be rezoned and developed into housing tracts or other urban uses, with a simple majority vote of the Board of Supervisors.
Since this exemption also applies to future school sites, developers will be motivated to intentionally locate new schools next to farmland in order to get more land exempted.
Far from being sustainable, Measure F encourages building on farmland and promotes urban sprawl.”
*Measure F Language, Sec 2.7(i): “The Board of Supervisors, without a vote of the people, may re-designate Agricultural designated parcels adjacent to an existing primary or secondary public school site that are also adjacent to a city sphere, city urban growth boundary or city limit jurisdictional boundary to an alternate general plan land use designation to reduce conflicts between schools and agricultural uses.”
Note: The term “adjacent” is used in this Measure F loophole. In other sections of Measure F the words “immediately adjacent” are used. To be conservative, this analysis was done using immediately adjacent parcels.
Measures F Loopholes Near Ventura County Schools
Exhibit #1 – Oxnard High School
Measure F allows large scale development on farmland, without any restrictions, next to many schools (and school sites) without a vote of the people. Exhibit 1, below, is the land around Oxnard High School. The owner of two of the exempt parcels (Graham) contributed $25,000 to Measure F.
Exhibit #2 – Camarillo
Exhibit 2, shown below, is the farmland next to the new Rancho Campana High located at the edge of Camarillo near Somis. It is at risk with Measure F’s School Loophole that exempts farmland from voter protection, regardless of size, if it’s next to one of many school sites throughout the County.
There is a “Yes on F” sign currently tacked up on one of the fences next to this farmland. It could just as well say “Coming Soon — Urban Sprawl”.
Exhibit #3 – Blanchard in Santa Paula
Exhibit 3, shown below, is the farmland next to Blanchard Elementary School in Santa Paula that would also be put at risk under Measure F. Like Exhibits 1 and 2 showing farmland around Oxnard High School, and Rancho Campana High in Camarillo, the farmland around Blanchard Elementary would also no longer be protected by SOAR’s vote of the people.
Add Santa Paula and Camarillo to the list of communities that will be impacted by Measure F loopholes.
Exhibit #4 – Rio del Valley Middle School, Oxnard
Exhibit 4 is paid for by KMS Development, the company that owns 120 acres of farmland around Rio del Valle Middle School in Oxnard that Measure F Loopholes exempt from a vote of the people. Like all the School Loophole Exhibits, Exhibit 4 (below) shows farmland that can be developed for housing tracts, shopping malls, or whatever politicians might choose to support.
It is of note that the head of KMS Development, Dean Walsh, gave $25,000 to Measure F but did so under the name of another company he owns, DW Berry. This is a clear case of a development company using the farming name to push Measure F’s hidden agenda.
Exhibit #5 – Mupu Elementary, Santa Paula
Exhibit 5 in our Loophole of the Day series is farmland next to Mupu Elementary School. Like Blanchard Elementary School in Santa Paula (Exhibit 3), this farmland is also exempted from a vote of the people in one of Measure F’s Loopholes. It is understandable that the city that bills itself as the “Citrus Capital of the World” would have multiple schools near orchards, but if Measure F wins, that may not remain the case.
Exhibit #6 – Mar Vista Elementary and Ocean View Junior High, Oxnard
Loophole Exhibit #6 below is the farmland next to both Mar Vista Elementary School and Ocean View Junior High in Oxnard. Like Loopholes #1-5, it too is exempt under Measure F’s School Loophole.
With Exhibit 6, above, a key Measure F deception is exposed: Measure F leader Lynn Jensen (who is also the head of the largest development engineering firm in Ventura County) claims Measure F’s School Loophole only applies to 5 schools. Well, we’ve shown you more than 5 already…keep reading.
Exhibit #7 – Thelma Bedell Elementary, Santa Paula
Like Exhibits 3 and 5, Exhibit 7 below is another elementary school in Santa Paula that borders citrus groves on agricultural designated land that would be developable without a vote of the people if Measure F receives more votes than SOAR’s Measure C come Election Day.
Exhibit #8 – Rio Mesa High, Oxnard, part one
This Loophole of the Day is one of two parts that comprises a development scheme that is responsible for 30% of all Measure F’s funding to date. It involves two schools, a proposal for 2,500 housing units, and more!
Exhibit 8 shows farmland (above) around Rio Mesa High School that would be exempted by Measure F’s School Loophole. All this farmland and more will be developable without a vote of the people if Measure F wins. This Measure F Loophole has attracted $152,000 in contributions so far.
Exhibit #9 – Providence Court School, Oxnard, part 2
The Jones Ranch Specific Plan, a 2,500-unit housing development proposed for farmland outside of Oxnard, has funded 1/3 of Measure F’s campaign. Jones Ranch currently requires a SOAR vote from the people of Oxnard before it can be developed. In 2009 the Oxnard City Council gave the project the go-ahead for the ballot, but the developers decided to withdraw their application instead. Now these same developers are back and funding 30% of Measure F’s campaign because its School Loophole exempts their project from a vote of the people.
With Measure F, farmland right outside the city limits of Oxnard can be rezoned for development by the Board of Supervisors without a vote of the citizens of Oxnard.
Exhibit 9 above shows the Measure F-exempted farmland adjacent to Providence Court School (in red) and Rio Mesa High School (in blue). Together they comprise the same land proposed for development in the Jones Ranch Specific Plan. Without having to go to a vote of the people, these developers can put their financial largess to work influencing the politicians who will decide the fate of the Jones Ranch Specific Plan, if Measure F wins.
Exhibit #10 – ACE High School, Camarillo
This Loophole of the Day is farmland that is familiar to those who’ve been to the Camarillo Airport. Because Measure F’s School Loophole allows farmland adjacent to schools at city edges to be developed without a vote of the people, the farmland next to Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School (ACE High) near the Camarillo Airport is also put at risk with Measure F.
If Measure F passes and developers make use of its School Loophole, the students of ACE High School will have a front row seat to watch the architecture, construction and engineering of an urban shopping center or housing development, as well as a political science lesson on what happens when farmland isn’t protected.
Exhibit #11 – Mound Elementary and Balboa Middle School, Ventura
This one is a two-fer! Farmland immediately adjacent to both Mound Elementary School and Balboa Middle School in Ventura will no longer require a vote of the people to be developed, if Measure F wins. That’s because F’s School Loophole takes the decision on farmland conversion away from voters and gives it to the Board of Supervisors when the farmland is adjacent to schools on the city edge.
Exhibit 11, above, shows in red the unincorporated farmland within the City of Ventura that is immediately adjacent to the schools. We call it a two-fer not only because there are two schools immediately adjacent to this farmland, but also because one property away is an even larger farm parcel that developers could argue is “adjacent enough” to be exempt. That too would be up to the Board of Supervisors to decide.
This Loophole of the Day is brought to you by Limoneira, who has contributed $49,999 to Measure F and has ownership in the larger parcel.
Exhibit #12 – Oxnard School District Seabridge SCHOOL SITE
This Loophole of the Day is a loophole within a loophole! As shown previously, Measure F’s School Loophole exempts from a vote of the people farmland adjacent to schools located at city edges. However the wording of Measure F’s Loophole doesn’t say schools, it says “school sites” which means undeveloped school sites too! Here’s F’s wording: “The Board of Supervisors, without a vote of the people, may re-designate agricultural designated parcels adjacent to an existing primary or secondary public school site…”
Exhibit 12, below, is farmland adjacent to the Seabridge school site in Oxnard.
Exhibit #13 – Limoneira Harvest/East Area One School Sites
Our final Measure F Loophole could apply to any future development that puts a school site along a city boundary. The blue outline in Exhibit 13, below, shows the land approved for Limoneira’s East Area One development known as The Harvest. It includes 1500 housing units and at least one school.
The final location of the school site could determine whether the farmland adjacent to it will be exempted from a vote of the people. Locating the school site at the edge of the project would free up hundreds of acres of farmland to be developed without a vote of the people if Measure F wins. One CLU economist touts that a developer could make $25 million for every hundred acres of farmland rezoned for urban use.
Limoneira contributed $49,999 to Measure F. If Limoneira gave $1 more, it would hit the $50,000 figure which would require its name to be listed on all of Measure F’s campaign material.