Ventura View Protection Ordinance Initiative, Measure B (November 2009)
Measure B will cap the height of any new buildings in most of Ventura at 26 feet for up to two years. During that two-year period, a "view-protection ordinance" will be written by a 23-person committee consistently primarily of Measure B supporters.
The question asked on the ballot will be, "Shall an initiative ordinance be adopted to implement general plan objectives, to preserve viewsheds by establishing a 23-member View Resources Board appointed predominantly by VCORD to prepare a View Protection Ordinance (VPO); enact a temporary moratorium on new development approvals exceeding 26 feet in height in specified areas until VPO approval the VPO or allow View Resources Board member(s) to submit VPO initiative to voters?"
The initiative campaign to put Measure B on the ballot was supported by a group called the Ventura Citizens’ Organization for Responsible Development (VCORD).
VCORD was founded by Camille Harris, who is also running for the Ventura City Council on the November 3 ballot. She says, "The administration at City Hall believes they know what’s best for us, and we simply do not share all of their vision."
Diane Underhill, a spokeswoman for Measure B, gives these reasons for a "yes" vote.
- If voters reject Measure B, "then our sweeping east/west views will be replaced by concrete canyons and visual barricades."
- Existing ordinances do not "prevent incompatibly tall buildings from walling off our views to the surrounding environment."
- "Measure B allows appointed neighborhood representatives from all parts of the city, plus a community representative from the Visitors Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, City Council, Planning Commission and planning staff to reach out to their districts and then write a view-protection ordinance that can be adopted by the council or go to voters."
- The development process in Ventura will be more predictable if Measure B is adopted.
- "If Ventura voters want definitive rules dealing with neighborhood-specific policies to protect public views, then we must use Measure B’s process to amend the general plan to include them. If we do not address this issue now, it will be years before we have a chance to address it again — and by then it will be too late."
Rob Corley, a school facilities planner, says, "When you read the details, there are drafting errors, process problems, and it will end up being a bad law." Corley is the chair of the View Protection Task Force created by the Ventura City Council.
Environmentalist Rachel Morris of the anti-global warming group in Ventura called VCCool, opposes Measure B. She says it will encourage sprawl.
The Democratic Club of Ventura originally endorsed Measure B but at a meeting in late September rescinded its endorsement, opting instead to take a neutral position.
City Attorney Ariel Calonne says that the part of Measure B that gives a private group the right to appoint members to a city commission is in conflict with the city's charter.
- Website of "Yes on B" campaign
- Ballot language of Measure B
- Full text of Measure B
- City attorney's impartial analysis of Measure B
- Arguments in favor of and against Measure B
- Rebuttals to arguments in favor of and against Measure B
- Ventura County Star, "Measure B seeks limit to Ventura structures", October 4, 2009
- Ventura County Star, "Protects city's priceless views, promotes business", October 4, 2009