Plans move ahead for new school in Oxnard's Seabridge community
By David Courtland 03/07/2013
Oxnard School District may get a long-sought resolution to its battle for the right to put an elementary school in the Seabridge subdivision of Oxnard at Thursday's California Coastal Commission meeting in San Diego.
“I want to be there, we've been working on this for too many years,” said Trustee Denis O'Leary, explaining that he wanted to be at the meeting to answer any questions commissioners might have. “If there's anything I can do to help, I absolutely want to do so.”
The effort began in 2008 when Seabridge developer D.R. Horton Los Angeles Holding Company Inc. asked the city of Oxnard for reimbursement of $7 million from a facilities fund that the company said it had already paid to the school district toward construction of a school.
When then-City Manager Ed Sotelo indicated he would comply, Oxnard School District sued the city, arguing it didn't matter whether the money had been paid in another agreement, the money in the fund was strictly earmarked for school construction.
Oxnard's City Council quickly back-pedaled, with then-Mayor Tom Holden saying the city would not take a side in the issue. Nonetheless, in October 2009, the City Council voted to add the word "school" to Seabridge planning documents — against vocal opposition from residents.
A year later, the school district, Oxnard and D.R. Horton reached a mediated settlement that added some new conditions for the district to meet, but allowed the district to move forward toward school construction.
"The agreement, for the most part, it was the original agreement with a couple of more details," said O'Leary.
The settlement cleared the way for the district to apply to the Coastal Commission for approval of an environmental impact plan, the final step before the district launches plans to build a school.