Nov. 4, 2012
Hannah Guzik, OVN correspondent
City planners will listen to residents’ input tonight on a controversial plan governing what housing can be built in Ojai.
The 6 p.m. Planning Commission meeting on the Housing Element plan will be held in the City Hall Council Chambers, 401 S. Ventura St.
The meeting is the first in a series of workshops and public hearings the commission and City Council will conduct over the coming weeks in the hopes of finalizing the plan early next year.
The plan, required under state housing regulations, is designed to encourage development within the boundaries of the city, providing affordable housing and preventing sprawl. The state is requiring the city to prove it can accommodate 177 additional affordable housing units.
Some city leaders have criticized the plan because they say it could change Ojai’s small-town feeling and cause the population of the city to swell.
The plan calls for providing an incentive for residents to build second dwellings, split homes and mixed-used projects on their property. The Housing Element would also activate an amnesty program for undocumented second dwellings, encouraging people to get them up to code, and would create special zoning laws to facilitate the development of affordable housing.
The commission is asking community members to weigh in on the plan at tonight’s meeting.
“Public input is an important part of this process,” said Community Development Director Rob Mullane. “This is one reason why we are anticipating a total of four meetings on this topic.”
After Wednesday’s meeting, the next discussion of the Housing Element will occur at the City Council’s Jan. 8 meeting, held at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
For more information on the plan, visit www.ci.ojai.ca.us.