Commission recommends landmark status for Chaparral School property

Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
Over the objections of Ojai Unified School District (OUSD) Superintendent Andy Cantwell and the OUSD School Board, Ojai's Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) unanimously voted Oct. 12 to recommend that the Ojai City Council designate OUSD's Chaparral property as a historic landmark.
The vote itself was historic for the body. 
“As far as I know we have never landmarked a property that has not been requested by the property owner,” said Brian Aikens, HPC's vice chair.
Cantwell asserted that the historic resources report the HPC commissioned for the property, the former Nordhoff Grammar School, is flawed in its analysis. He further requested that HPC delay the issue until OUSD has received proposals from developers who may be interested in modifying the property.
The District has declared the 414 E. Ojai Ave. property “surplus” and has moved to solicit proposals from developers to raise revenue.
“Separate from the substantive and procedural concerns, the District respectfully asks, from one public body serving the Ojai Valley to another, to please refrain from landmarking prior to when the District receives formal responses from developers for possible alternative uses for the property,” wrote Cantwell in a memo to the Commission.
See also: “Chaparral property discussion held between city, school district, Ojai Valley News, Oct. 4, 2017.

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