I have always been a live and let live kind of person. I don't like conflicts. I prefer harmony over anarchy. Unfortunately controversy crosses my path more often than I like. Occupational hazard, I guess.
I have no idea what triggered a recent dispute between the County of Ventura and the City of Oxnard regarding Channel Islands Harbor. However, it's apparent that a lot of beneficial economic development projects are caught in the crossfire.
When I have friends or family from out of town visit me, my favorite thing to do is take them on an electric boat tour of Channel Islands Harbor. For too many years my guests have asked why there is a large shuttered hotel in such a beautiful location. I used to answer, "It's the economy." But that doesn't hold water any more. Now that we are on the verge of the groundbreaking for a new visitor-serving hotel, a tiff between the city and the county looks like it could derail the revitalization of the peninsula in the harbor.
Fisherman's Wharf is certainly another example of the dispute between the two local governments. Here you have a site that was designated on the city's 2030 General Plan as an "Urban Village," which means residential use plus local services for the residents. When that plan was presented, the county embraced it, but the city has done everything possible to derail the project.
The squabble seems to stem from who gets to approve which projects. Historically, the County has granted approvals based on its approved public works plan. Oxnard doesn't seem to like that process any longer and wants to give projects its blessing or denial.
I don't know who should be the approving entity. I just know that a very good proposal to revive Fisherman's Wharf is caught up in the dispute. I am also hearing rumblings that the rebuild of the old Casa Sirena Marina Hotel may be facing permit challenges from the city.
It's time to lock city and the county officials in a room with a professional mediator and come to a resolution.