Priority Affordable Housing for Oxnard Excess Land

Affordable housing developers will have first choice of approximately 6.2 acres of land concentrated in downtown Oxnard.

In a 4-3 vote on Tuesday, the city council declared 53 city-owned parcels as surplus land, making them available for purchase. Ideally, the properties will bring more people and businesses downtown.

“There is a vision for downtown that is based on achieving a density of residential units, leading the revitalization of downtown, starting with residents, a clientele, which would then attract new commercial investment. “City Manager Alex Nguyen said Tuesday.

According to a staff report, the Surplus Land Act requires municipal land “not necessary for operations” to be declared surplus property before it is sold. Recent changes to the law mean the city must first make the lots available to affordable housing developers, regardless of current zoning, Housing Director Emilio Ramirez said Tuesday.

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Next, the city will send notices to state-registered affordable housing developers. The city will announce 27 plots this year and the remaining 26 in 2023 at the earliest, according to the staff report.

Interested developers have about two months to respond to the notice and an additional 90 days to negotiate the purchase of the land, according to the report.

The state will review the transactions before the city council can vote on the sale, Ramirez said. The city can also refuse to sell the property at any time.

If the developer and the city can’t reach an agreement, the city can make the land available for other types of development projects, Ramirez said. It anticipates that the majority of the land will be purchased for commercial or mixed-use development.

Most plots are less than an acre, but are grouped together to create one plot large enough for development. The plots total approximately 6.2 acres.

The town of Oxnard owns 36 of the parcels and the Oxnard Parking Authority owns the other 17, according to the staff report. One plot is in the RiverPark neighborhood, but the rest of the plots are in the downtown area.

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Mayor Pro Tem Bryan A. MacDonald, who voted against the resolution, noted that the development could lead to a downtown parking shortage, as some of the parcels are currently used as parking lots.

“When parking is scarce across the city, I guess it just doesn’t sit well with me to say we have parking lots that are excess land,” MacDonald said.

City staff used the downtown strategic plan to compile the list of plots, but Councilwoman Gabriela Basua said Tuesday the council should have selected the plots. She asked the city council to revisit the strategic plan at a later date to determine if council still agrees with its direction.

Brian J. Varela covers Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo. He can be reached at [email protected] or 805-477-8014. You can also find him on Twitter @BrianVarela805.

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