Minutes of November 16, 2023 General Meeting via Zoom

East Ventura Community Council
Minutes of November 16, 2023 General Meeting Via Zoom

Board members in attendance: Sara Ostrander, Norene Charnofsky, John Kunsemiller, Sheila Lowe

Absent: Dean Katz


The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m.


Ventura City Police Report by Commander Weeks

The East Ventura 28-day crime map had mainly larcenies and stolen vehicles. 6 out of 8 assaults were domestic calls. CVS at Kimball/Telegraph had 3 shoplifting calls.

Upcoming Events:

Coffee With a Cop – Dec. 6. Lovewell Tea & Coffee, 2272 Ventura Ave, 8:00 a.m.

Curbside Coffee. Dec 7 and Dec 17 at 7:30 a.m..

Winter Wine Walk.


  1. Burton coordinated with Bill McReynolds to create a Neighborhood Watch. Responsive to his request for a copy of an interactive crime map, Cdr Weeks volunteered to provide one monthly and a URL.


Sara announced a Hannukah celebration on Dec. 10 and a tree lighting, and Dec. 1 Stuff the Sleigh from 9-6 at Figueroa Plaza, Downtown Ventura VCFD.org/SparkofLove


  1. Arneill-Brown ask whether the proposed development on Telegraph/Wells, which includes a 24-hour market, would be likely create additional noise and crime in the area. Response was postponed for speaker, Michael Pauls.


Minutes of the Last Meeting were approved by the board and are posted on the website: www.eastventura.org


Treasurer’s Report: $1201.60 balance due mainly to donations by Grocery Outlet. A payment of $20 was made to the Secretary of State for a statement of information, which is required every two years. If anyone knows of other businesses that might be willing to sponsor us, let Norene know. Donations are appreciated and may be made on the website.

Q – V. Laux asked what we do with the money we receive. No dues are charged, but there are insurance and website expenses.

Q – Are there other such community councils? Norene enumerated them (there are seven).

Q – Do we have any political influence? Sara has attended city council meetings and with approval of the board has commented at them, even staying as late as midnight. We do not support specific candidates.


Recognition of Attendees: members of the board were introduced, along with District 5 Council Member Bill McReynolds, and speakers Dan Hulst and Michael Pauls.


Bill McReynolds made some announcements:

  • December 1 toy drive.
  • Bristol 75% done, to be completed after Thanksgiving.
  • Foul weather shelter program opens 12/1. Looking for donations of jackets, etc.
  • There have been four city council meetings since we last met.
  • General plans land use—there was minimal change to districts 4, 5. Von’s shopping center and Grocery Outlet were changed to commercial-only.
  • Property at Wells/Darling was designated a neighborhood center, which allows for 40% residential, 60% commercial.
  • Charter Reform committee — cleanup of text changes, will go to ballot. Recommendations go on 11/26 agenda.
  • Solar panels at Community Park — As EVCC requested, there was approval for installation west of the aquatic center.
  • Ventura Water Pure project: $182 million dollar overrun being discussed.
  • East Ventura Housing meeting yesterday discussed affordable housing in the city and how to implement it.


Norene: In the past, EVCC had opportunity to provide input on new projects early on. That was not the case in the Wells/Telegraph project. In the future, can we be notified? It makes sense for proposed developments to reach out to community councils. B. McR. will talk to Community Development about doing so.

Terry: The original goal was to bring facilities for services to local neighborhoods. The Darling/Wells (Telegraph/Wells?) current proposed plan does not adhere to that goal. B. McR said that all community councils were consulted.

  1. Noren thanked Bill McReynolds for representing our interests well.

City Rain Barrell program: voucher for ½ price. Two rain barrels $45.

Marina Park Outfall to be completed by 5/24.

Sara reminded us that November 21 is Giving Tuesday. We are encouraged to give to the charity of our choice.


Q – V. Laux: concern that with all the housing coming in our area, we don’t have enough water. Who will control the permits to developers?

A – B. McR: reiterated new general plan re E. Ventura: residential reduced. Darling/Wells could go residential. Projects currently under construction were approved more than a decade ago. Covid has impacted the situation. Until money gets cheap again, there won’t be any big building. State bill SB330 does not allow any moratorium on housing.


Old Business

  • Atlas School: traffic conditions still need to be highlighted. Montalvo has a Safe to School plan. Does Atlas?

Bill: City working on a plan, but there is currently no funding.

Marina P.: there was a Safe plan but will not be implemented before 2024-2025. As developments go in at Darling and Wells, she hopes it will be taken into account. The priority is on fixing things, but also to add parking, which may be brought into the school safety traffic plan. She will keep us posted.

Bill McR.: Curbs and sidewalks to be addressed.

  • Community Center: East Ventura needs a gathering place for seniors and a place for youth activities. Next year a group will be formed to advocate for it.
  • Fireworks: Dean absent; he will continue to work with the police on getting assistance for 4th of July fireworks.
  • A full-size grocery store is needed on the east end. Marina – would like a Trader Joes, but their policy is to only take over existing buildings. Possibly further east of Saticoy in unincorporated areas such as Violeta, has potential for development. Terry would like a Santa Cruz(?) market.


Sara: The aquatic center was built partly with city funds, and partly with funds raised by the community. Time to start thinking how we the community can persuade the Parks department to move it up on their priority list.


Nominating committee: Norene reported the slate for 2024: Sara Ostrander (Chair), Dean Katz (Vice Chair), Sheila Lowe (Recording Secretary), John Kunsemiller (Corresponding Secretary). The treasurer position is currently vacant. A poll was taken and 16 voted to accept the slate as reported, plus 1 vote by Gmail. As there were zero No votes, the slated was accepted. Note: those attending by phones could not access the poll.




New Business


Guest Speaker, Dan Hulst, Stewardship Director of Ventura Land Trust

Harmon canyon update. VLT is a 501 c3 incorporated in Ventura County. Its mission is to permanently protect the environment through stewardship by purchasing and keeping spaces open and wild. They celebrated their 20-year anniversary. There are 24 staff members. They conserve open spaces around the county, with 2000 plus acres in the area of Foothill/Kimball. The Preserve is open from dawn to dusk unless there is rain or red flag warnings. 2022/23 saw a historic wet season. Normal rainfall is 12”. So far this year we have seen 30” of rain, which severely impacted Harmon Canyon. Nine creek crossings were made impassible. Edison holds an easement and has responsibility to maintain the roads. VLT has worked with them to bring them back as hiking trails. There has been an 11-month closure 1.5 miles up the primary trail. The upper canyon may be reopened soon.


Edison has worked on the preserve for 2.5 months along with Sage Trail Alliance. Two of the creek crossings need engineering work performed. VLT Harmon Canyon is bordered by 35 homes in Clear Point. There has been big plant growth. Fuel load reduction is being conducted over two months, especially close to structures, where non-native flammable plants are being cleared by hand. Goats were used in 2022. They are experimenting on grazing along the interface with other animal species.


VLT partnered with Stantec Consulting, using trail counters to learn how the public is accessing the amenities on the preserve. Venturalandtrust.org is membership based. Dues, which start at $45/year, support the staff, and help them carry out their mission.

Q – will there be a crosswalk? A – Since 2018, they have met with traffic engineers. Changes need to be made but cost constraints. Interested in a dedicated left-bound turn lane heading east, a pedestrian walkway, etc. VLT advocates for safe access.

Q – M. Porter: will there be better signage at the entrance to Harmon Cyn? A: size sign is limited by the city. Can’t increase it from what it is. Dan will take note of feedback from the community.

Q – Can bicycles be limited in Harmony Canyon? A – human powered bikes are allowed. They may be limited to single use trails. An extensive responsible trail usage class was conducted.

Two comments made that ebikes, which are not allowed, have been spotted there.

Norene: She is a Land Trust member and was in previous organizations. She does not feel safe with the bikes and suggests people go in a group. She reported that one of the owners of Harmon Cyn spoke at EVCC about their plans to build executive homes on a plateau, but community reaction blocked them. She thanked them for doing bilingual signs.

Snakes: use caution when hiking.


Guest Speaker Michael Pauls: Project Manager for proposed development at Wells/Telegraph

He thanked Sara for organizing the recent in-person presentation to the board and some EVCC members.

The project is comprised of three economic centers:

  1. Pedestrian friendly local market with limited produce.
  2. Fuel, which will eventually transition to low carbon fuels. Ammonia based 70% less carbon, cleaner than electricity.
  3. Automatic car wash exceeds requirements of state law, recycling 60% of water used.


They plan to work with the City to enhance crosswalks and make the area pedestrian friendly.

The plan includes a neighborhood meeting place with a 1000 SF patio at rear of market with kiosk (bulletin board), premium coffee, comfortable seating.

Emphasis on pedestrian orientation is consistent with the state and the city in reducing vehicle usage. Their goal is to get residents to cross Wells on foot to purchase items that provide “supplementary midweek shopping.”

Car washes are underrepresented in the area. Many associations don’t allow car washing in the premises. Theirs is environmentally friendly; captures pollutants that run off the car into coastal environments.

Crosswalks: Improve bike lanes in front of the property; work with the city on sidewalk access.

Complimented the City staff as easy to work with.


Ruolin Xu and Andrew Roland(?) the architects of the project:

The Monterrey style corresponds to some buildings across the street in the housing development. Terra cotta base, light brown stucco walls, lots of storefront with glazing, wood. Second floor wood structure and mission tiles.

The main focus is the food store, intended as the magnet to bring people in. Once there, several offerings: gas, car wash.

Fuel canopy—the design was changed after residents protested. The owner talked to the oil company (Shell). If requested by the city, they will not use the Shell colors, but blend them into the canopy. Nidal Aziz is a single owner and lives in Simi. He is a hands-on operator who owns many similar businesses in the San Fernando Valley, and has adjusted to style and demand of the neighborhood.

Michael Pauls: they have worked closely with city staff on architectural plans. He had requested to identify and meet with community groups early on, but that didn’t happen. He met Sara at design committee and asked to meet with us.


Q- J. Nicol –The EVCC is sponsored by Grocery Outlet. Outreach to The Palms?

MP: this (Wells/Telegraph) is the last opportunity to gas up before Santa Paula and the last food store for supplementary groceries.

Q – JN: Have you talked to the senior community? A – No, but they will walk the community and talk to people.

Q – Terry – spoke in favor of a niche market. Asked what variety of produce would be available. A – Would like to carry ag products as much as possible from the local area.

Q – Jeanette Sanchez Palacios, city councilmember: appreciates the food market, but not 100% sold on gas station. What about electrical charging stations? A — there will be electrical charging stations when they make sense economically (a business decision). The state passed laws that the city had to incorporate. What needs to be done as part of economic research is to determine what the need is and act accordingly.

Q – S. Noren: for ten years we have said we don’t want a gas station. Why put one where 30 years ago there was one that failed? A —the former gas station was antiquated. Substantial numbers of vehicles pass along that road. The gas station would be for those who commute and find it inconvenient to stop at the other gas stations. The store will stock items the community shows a preference for, working diligently hand in hand with the community.

Q – S. Noren – There are two gas stations and a new car wash only 500 yards away. A —a car wash has been approved on Wells; these are not full-size car washes.

Andy: this modern gas station/gas station/food store is “a neighborhood commercial center.” Each of the three uses crossover. “The patio is a gift to the community.”

  1. Arneill-Brown – expressed concerns. Is this car wash an ‘accessory car wash’ like the one at citrus (Yes). In the meeting with Michal Pauls last week the issue was raised of vagrants hanging out on the patio area and harassing visitors to the patio. A — the patio is at the rear of the market. Currently working with landscape architect to better buffer the patio from the roadway, while not blocking views. Vagrants: the seating has been removed from the front of the building and added produce emblematic of a neighborhood market. The owner trains his employees (not heavy-handed), and has no homeless problems at his other businesses.


Next Meeting: January 18, 2024

Adjournment: 9:06 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Sheila Lowe, Acting Secretary