While developers, residents, city officials and others debate the impact of growth on Oxnard’s north side, planners have opened public comments on environmental impact reports for two adjoining projects that, if built, could permanently alter a huge swath of land on the city’s south end.
A draft environmental impact report, or DEIR, for the Ormond Beach Specific Plan was released for public review May 21. The plan encompasses two separate, but neighboring developments. Both sit just outside Oxnard’s boundaries on land currently used for agriculture but within the city’s sphere of influence.
According to the DEIR, both projects “would result in significant unavoidable impacts” to the environment and do not have alternatives or mitigation measures that would allow developers to still meet their objectives.
One proposal, the SouthShore project, sits on 322 acres north of Hueneme Road between Edison Drive and Olds Road. Irvine-based Hearthside Homes proposes to build a development that would include 1,283 homes on the site. They would be accompanied by a new elementary school and high school, a community park, smaller neighborhood parks, a mixed-use commercial space, light industrial sites, and open space and trails.
Problems cited in the DEIR for SouthShore include an insufficient water supply without funding for new projects, exceeding air pollution limits, conversion of 322 acres of agricultural land, noise, and a loss of visual resources.
The other project, the South Ormond Beach Specific Plan, involves 595 acres of land south of Hueneme Road between Edison Drive and Arnold Road and terminating near the coastal dunes between the Reliant Energy power plant and an Agromin composting site.
That plan would include a 62 acre business research park and a 313 acre light industrial zone that would include harbor zones serving the Port of Hueneme. Oxnard would not annex the remaining 220 acres, which would continue as agricultural land. Instead, the land would be sold to the California Coastal Conservancy or partner organizations as part of an Ormond Beach wetland restoration project managed by the conservancy.
Significant environmental impacts expected for the South Ormond Beach plan are similar to those foreseen for Southshore. On that site, 375 acres of prime farmland would be converted to non agricultural uses.
Both projects include other environmental impacts that could be mitigated, the DEIR said.
Comments are welcomed for each project and the overarching specific plan until July 5. The projects are under consideration simultaneously, but they are independent of one another. A public hearing on the reports is tentatively scheduled for June 21.