OUSD school board to consider 3 options for downtown property at Wednesday, May 11, meeting

5 13 22 OUSD

Ojai Unified School District's May 11 agenda packet includes a draft conceptual design, for discussion purposes only, of one option for the district's downtown property at 414 E. Ojai Ave., to build affordable workforce housing on a portion of the property.


Four months after nixing a developer’s plan to build a 203-room hotel on Ojai Unified School District’s downtown property at 414 E. Ojai Ave., the school board plans to decide “on a final option” for the property at a June 1 meeting.

At the school board’s Wednesday, May 11, meeting, it will consider three options, which, although just posted on Friday, have sparked debate in the community.

A majority of seats — three of five — on the school board are up for election in November. They are the seats held by Board President Jane Weil, Michael Shanahan and Kevin Ruf.

Also, a group — completely separate from the OUSD school board — called "The Future of Chaparral Committee," will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, May 17, at 5:30 p.m. at the Ojai Retreat, 160 Besant Road, to get ideas from the public on future development ideas for the property, including a conceptual proposal by Ojai Valley architect Marc Whitman for an "Ojai Institute for the Arts." Those wanting to attend are advised to car-pool due to limited capacity.
That group is asking for comments to be submitted in writing via the website,   or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The three options for the downtown district property the OUSD school board will consider on May 11 are:

• Option 1: Stay and complete necessary updates and repairs.

• Option 2: Add affordable workforce housing.

• Option 3: Relocate District Office, Chaparral High School and A Place to Grow Preschool and create and implement a development plan for the entire site.

A graphic of the options can be viewed in the school board’s agenda packet at:

The information in the agenda item states that for:

Option 1, the District team is currently evaluating the existing needs to bring the facility up to full functionality, including upgrade and repair costs, and other space considerations to ensure future programmatic needs are met.

The process for Option 1 to stay and complete necessary repairs includes:

1. Site Walk to identify necessary repairs and upgrades (completed)

2. Complete cost estimates for repairs and upgrades (in progress)

3. Identify funding sources for repairs and upgrades (in progress)

4. Board awards bids and approves contracts for repairs and upgrades

4. Implement necessary repairs and upgrades

For Option 2, to add affordable workforce housing:

• Keep the District office and associated community spaces (including the skatepark and community farmers’ market.

• Partially develop a portion of property for workforce and affordable housing.

That would require the district:

1. Renew State Board of Education Waiver.

2. Retain consultants with expertise to assist and guide the workforce housing process.

3. Work with city staff to discuss General Plan amendment and/or land-use and zoning.

4. Identify funding sources for development and potential income to district.

5. Develop request for quote and request for project directed to experienced affordable housing developers.

For Option 3 to relocate the district office and develop the entire site, the district would:

• Relocate the district office, Chaparral High School and A Place to Grow Preschool.

• Create and implement a development plan for the entire site.

The school board agenda can be viewed online at:

The board will open its meeting in public session at 5 p.m. before adjourning to closed session to discuss student discipline. It is scheduled to reopen in public session at 5:30 p.m.

The meeting will be livestreamed on Youtube at:  and on

Facebook at:

The public may make public comments in several different ways:

— They may write them on the school district’s online form at:

Those written comments should be made prior to 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

The school board does not read the written comments aloud and has a word limit.

The Ojai Valley News welcomes the public to also submit their comments of any length to the Ojai Valley News for possible posting on the OVN website.

— The public may also make their comments in person at the school district boardroom at 414 E. Ojai Ave. 




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