Planned mix-use apartment complexes move closer to reality
Ventura’s design review committee largely positive with changes to Ventura Avenue projects
By Chris O'Neal 09/05/2013
Ventura’s Downtown may see a few more available living quarters, if planned apartments move further down the path to the City’s approval.
On Wednesday night, the design review committee heard comments from the developers of the proposed apartment blocks slated for the area west and east of Junipero Street.
Darrell Becker proposed the complex west of Junipero known as “Mar-Y-Cel” as a mixed-use property incorporating 138 units and 6,800 square feet of retail and commercial space. The 2.5-acre lot would also house a multilevel garage for both shoppers and tenants.
“I’m afraid it would block the view of the fairgrounds and Surfer’s Point,” said one local resident, a sentiment that was echoed by several others of the proposed buildings ranging in height from two to five stories.
The committee, however, was very positive of the plan, citing changes to appease complaints such as building the five story structures on the north and south side of the complex to lessen the visual impact.
“The scale is very honest,” said Martha Picciotti, member of the committee and herself an architect.
On the lot to the east, John Ashkar’s 257 unit complex took a little more heat from residents in attendance. Including the height issues, the potential cost per unit of the complex was brought into question.
The Ashkar project would consist of 257 units East of Becker’s Mary-Y-Cel.
“Will any of the rents be within the means of downtown hotel and restaurant workers?” asked community member Barbara Evans in a formal letter detailing her objections.
Though none of the comments or questions were given a response at this week’s meeting, Becker and Ashkar will return in a few months with a revised plan that takes into consideration the city’s and its residents’ complaints.
“Assuming that nothing’s appealed or delayed,” said Community Development Director Jeffrey Lambert. “It could be six to nine months until it’s under construction.”