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OUSD board to vote on developer agreement

Screen Shot 2022 01 07 at 10.37.43 AM

Concept by SVS DEV LLC 

An outline of the current plan for the OUSD district office site, located at 414 E. Ojai Ave.

 

Grant Phillips, Ojai Valley News reporter

At the Jan. 12 Ojai Unified School District school board meeting, taking place at Matilija Auditorium at 5:30 p.m., trustees will vote on whether to renew the exclusive right to negotiate (ERN) contract with developers SVS DEV LLC. who are working on plans to develop the OUSD offices at 414 E. Ojai Ave., as confirmed by Board President Jane Weil.

They will also vote on five years of accounting and development fees. 

“The ERN stipulated the process the developers would go through, including a concept review, before returning to the district for a potential lease agreement,” according to a list of frequently asked questions on the district’s website. The FAQ continues: “The school board has not approved any proposal, only a process for the developers to develop a proposal and obtain community feedback prior to submitting to the board at a future time before a lease agreement is presented.” 

The development company hosted an online community workshop Jan. 6. The school district entered into the ERN with the developer on March 11, 2020.

The 8.34-acre property, located at 414 E. Ojai Ave., consists of:

— A 203-room hotel with a spa, pool and courtyard

— Restaurant and cafe space

— Commercial retail space

— 63 residential housing units, with 15% designated with an affordable rate

— Pedestrian-friendly gardens

— An activity and event center designed to host special events

— Revitalization of historical structures

— 295 parking spaces for commercial, residential and hotel (estimated at 181,500 square feet)

— Restoration of the bell tower to its original 48 feet

— Solar panel roofing

— New structures that would abide by the current 35-foot height limit.

New potential options, mentioned by development design partner Kristine Overacre, include OUSD staff housing, micro-retail and artist space and additional parking. 

At the Dec. 15 OUSD school board meeting, the district clarified takeaways from the Nov. 17 Planning Commission meeting, which many members of the public attended with the majority opposing the proposed plans for the district property.

At the Dec. 15 school board meeting, district officials noted there was:

1. No support for large hotel.

2. A strong desire for community involvement through the development process. 

3. Concerns over water, traffic and historical preservation of site.

4. Alternative development ideas were shared by community members. 

Following the meeting, Overacre told the Ojai Valley News: “Everything is on the table still” and that “the plans that we’ve seen are specifically driven by the RFP (request for proposal) that was put out by the school requesting ‘highest and best use’ and highest revenue to the school district. That’s what our plans currently reflect.” 

According to the FAQ released by OUSD, if the district were to keep the property, estimates for full modernization of the space are between $2 million and $6 million due to the age and condition of the buildings and infrastructure. 

For the Jan. 12 meeting, OUSD also released its annual and five-year account of development fees for the 2020-21 fiscal year. 

Fees were set at $3.20 per square foot of assessable space of residential construction and 51 cents per square foot of covered and enclosed space of commercial/industrial construction. 

The purpose of the fees is to finance the construction or reconstruction of school facilities necessary to reduce overcrowding caused by the development on which the fees were levied. 

For the 2020-21 fiscal year, the beginning fund balance was listed at $1,121,604. Total expenditures were listed at $32,182. Administration costs have not yet been calculated. 

The current OUSD 2021-22 budget, adopted in July, was listed at $31,809,823. 

When an agenda is released for the meeting, it can be viewed online at https://bit.ly/3f3N9tr

Public comments for the meeting can be submitted to: https://bit.ly/3eW3zEj

 

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