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DEVELOPER SEEKS ZONING CHANGE FOR MOORPARK PARCEL.

Byline: Gloria Gonzales Daily News Staff Writer

A developer's request to build 350 homes on as many acres - on land zoned for one home per five acres - will debut before the City Council tonight.

The request for a zoning change for a 350-acre parcel comes in the form of an application for a General Plan amendment, and it is likely that the council will reject the request pending a comprehensive General Plan update due in 1998, officials said.

Even if the request for an application were granted, it would be months - and perhaps years - of Planning Commission and council meetings before any new plan for the property north of downtown would be approved, said council member Bernardo Perez, who with Mayor Patrick Hunter first heard the request during Community Development Committee meetings.

``The developer has come before the committee twice, and we decided that their request should come before the full council,'' Perez said. ``But Mayor Hunter and I are in agreement that no General Plan amendments would be processed anyway until the next fiscal year, when a General Plan update can be undertaken.''

The developer, James Rasmussen, said that although the new plans call for more homes, unlike the earlier plan, no homes would be built on the ridgeline, a piece of property visible from many city vantage points.

``If you stand at Taco Bell on Los Angeles Avenue and look north, the ridgeline you see is our property,'' Rasmussen said. ``With our plan only three homes would be visible from that spot.''

Although the request likely will be rejected at this stage, it gives a glimpse of the developer's plans for the undeveloped property north of downtown and within the city limits.

Located a half mile north of Casey Road and bordering Highway 23 on the west, the land is zoned for semirural, low-density residential development, allowing developers to build one home per five-acre parcel, which would allow 66 homes to built on the site.

In the early '90s, an upscale, gated community project dubbed the Ranches at Aspen Ridge was approved for the site, and was planned for development by JBH Development of Westlake Village.

The 66-home development was never completed, and in the mid-'90s, Union Bank foreclosed on the property, according to Rasmussen.

The Rasmussen family, which operates C.A. Rasmussen, a construction and grading business in Simi Valley, bought the property from the bank 2-1/2 years ago, Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen's proposed development includes 350 homes, down from an initial request for 420, clustered at the west end of the property, closer to Highway 23.

Rasmussen acknowledged that his company would profit more from building more homes than the 66 proposed in the original plan, but he said that the newer plan was fairer and better for Moorpark. He said clustering homes was more appropriate for the property than scattered ``ranchettes'' on five-acre lots, and that nearby developments, including the Carlsberg and Hitch Ranch projects, allow for higher density developments.

City officials, including Perez and Hunter, said that they were concerned about changing the zoning, or even allowing a request for a change, before the General Plan is updated next year.

Although both agreed that the developers would have to wait for a new General Plan, Hunter was more vocal in opposition to a high-density project at the site.

``This is one of the last pieces of property in the city that could be converted into larger acreage ranches,'' Hunter said. ``The rest of the city is pretty much built in, but this area is still rural - a place where one could build an equestrian home or ranch.

``Also, to allow this now would be to allow spot zoning, rather than following a comprehensive General Plan.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 17, 1997
Words:621
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