The Thousand City Council Tuesday night unanimously green-lighted the T.O. Ranch development, the largest mixed-use project in the city's history.
The council approved the project a week after the city Planning Commission unanimously recommended that it does. The project, which will help address the city's housing shortage, was proposed more than two years ago.
"This project fits right into what the community has been saying they want," Councilman Al Adam said at the conclusion of the three-plus hour hearing. "They don't want to see building in open space. They don't want to see building in (residential) neighborhoods."
And the T.O. Ranch project is in keeping with that, he said.
Sherman Oaks-based developer IMT Capital V Hampshire, LLC proposes building 420 residential rental units on a nearly 12-acre site at 325 and 391 Hampshire Road near Highway 101. A shuttered Kmart store there has been closed for 18 years.
The units would be in two, four-story mixed-use buildings and 13 three-story townhome-style apartment buildings
Fifty-four of the units would be affordable and seven would be live/work. The average height of the two mixed-use buildings would be about 40 feet, while the average height of the 13 apartment buildings would be approximately 35 feet.
The project would also include 15,000 square feet of commercial space, a two-story amenity structure, outdoor amenities including swimming pool, barbecue-picnic area, and dog park, and subterranean and surface parking.
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Mayor Bob Engler praised IMT for a project that will be "the gold standard for Thousand Oaks.
"What you have been able to do is raise the bar on development in Thousand Oaks," he said. "We need to clone you for all the other projects coming forward. They should all take a page out of your playbook."
About 20 residents spoke in favor of the project during public comments. None opposed it.
"This is a very, very good project," said Jackson Piper, who lives in unincorporated Newbury Park. "We have a very severe housing crisis in California, especially within cities like Thousand Oaks.
"This will help add to the very-much-in-need rental housing stock," he said.
Chris Catalano, who lives near the site, said it will be a relief to finally have it developed.
"For years, I've endured comments like, 'Is there a ghetto in Westlake Village? Because that looks like it," he said.
The city received last-minute letters from lawyers for the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters seeking to delay the City Council from adopting the project's final environmental impact report and approving the development.
The letters argued that the draft impact report was inadequate because it didn't address hiring local carpenters, Steve Kearns, the city's planning manager, said Thursday. Hiring out-of-town carpenters would impact air quality because of the traffic trips they would need to make to get to the project site, the letters say.
Danielle Griffith, with the city's environmental consulting firm, Rincon Consultants, refuted the allegations at Tuesday night's meeting, and the City Council adopted the final impact report.
The project's draft impact report found that temporary construction noise will be the only significant, unavoidable impact.
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Following the council's approval of the project, David Tedesco, managing director of IMT, said the developer was "very, very pleased to have the support of the City Council and to have residents and others speak in favor of the project.
"We've tried to do everything we've been asked to do to create one of the best projects Thousand Oaks will have," he said.
The next step for IMT is to prepare construction documents and submit them to the city for needed permits, Kearns said.
Mike Harris covers the East County cities of Moorpark, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, as well as transportation countywide. You can contact him at email@example.com or 805-437-0323.
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