Public comment supporting the Fisherman’s Wharf revitalization at Oxnard Planning Commission

On August 22, 2019, Oxnard’s Planning Commission held a special meeting to decide whether to amend its Local Coastal Plan to allow apartments on its dilapidated Fisherman’s Wharf site (here’s an overview from the Harbor Director which addresses common concerns). Below is the outline for my public comment.

Thank you, commissioners. My partner and I live in the Westerlies, a 2-year-old townhome complex half a mile from the wharf. We love it there — we’re able to walk to the canal paths, the shops nearby, and the beach. Because the Westerlies were built, we get to live in Oxnard. So I want to start by thanking anyone in this room who led to our home getting approved.

I support this development now because it will provide more families the opportunity that we have, that we all have. To live in a beautiful, temperate, coastal area with a diverse community and access to a strong regional economy, that’s a gift, but it’s a gift we can share.

Of course there are reasons we would personally benefit, with walking-distance access to new restaurants, park space, and other amenities. We might even want to live in the new apartments someday. It’d be wonderful to be closer to the water without paying millions for a single family home there. We’d also be able to welcome my brother, whose wheelchair can’t get into our current home, or most homes in Oxnard. Newer apartments are the most accessible type of housing for people with disabilities, and they’re also greener and more able to address the housing shortage that’s causing high rents and homelessness here and statewide.

No development is perfect. I’d like to see this one include more apartments like previous proposals had to create a more vibrant neighborhood. As a zero-car household, I’d also like it to better reflect the trend away from car ownership Director Sandoval correctly described. A thousand parking spaces is unnecessary and will just attract cars and traffic. But we can’t let this precious land go any longer without being utilized. The homes don’t just make the project viable, they make our community the welcoming place I’ve seen firsthand it can be. Please say yes to new residents like me. Thank you.

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Written by

Economist. Founder and president of the UBI Center. Studied at MIT and UC Berkeley. YIMBY. Former Google data scientist.

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