Author: Deborah

Ventura County Commission is negotiating for 8,000 acres of oceanfront land

Ventura County Commission is negotiating for 8,000 acres of oceanfront land

Coveted oceanfront land in Ventura County will become a nature preserve, protected by the state’s new ocean protection law.

The Ventura County Commission voted unanimously in May to designate 1,100 acres off Highway 1 as “the Pacific Coast Preserve” to help protect the area’s threatened native plant colonies from development.

But now the county is gearing up for what it hopes will be as much as 8,000 acres of oceanfront land in the county.

The new ocean protection law, passed in June, allows the commission to purchase up to $35.6 million in real estate for the ocean preserves. That money will be donated to the county’s Department of Natural Resources, which will manage the properties at the county’s request — or sell it to another entity that will use them for nature preserves, public access, conservation efforts and other purposes.

The commission is taking bids on specific parcels, starting with 3,300-plus acres at Sotoyama Park, a 1.6-mile stretch of Santa Rosa Beach.

“This is a way for the county to get more money through conservation and to put more of this land under nature preserve management,” said Jim Schaller, the commission’s chairman.

Commissioners unanimously passed the law in June to help ensure that the commission could use money from land sales to help preserve the oceanfront for coastal recreation and wildlife protection.

The commission is negotiating with a number of potential buyers including an ocean foundation, a nonprofit that plans to develop oceanfront property in Southern California.

But the commission will have to wait and see if any of those developers are interested in the ocean preserves.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to have to go with the person who is most willing to give the most money to help that area,” Schaller said.

There is no guarantee that any of the developers who bid on the parcels in the Sotoyama area will be willing to donate money to the Ocean Preserve Fund or other nature preservation efforts.

The commission will not reveal who its eventual buyers are, including the nature foundation that is planning to develop oceanfront property at Sotoyama

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