What a relief! I was worried that the Kanan Shuttle bench and shelter project had led to the violation of the Ventura County Tree Ordinance at the corner of Kanan Road and Conifer Street in Oak Park. Not so! I found out that the VC Public Works Agency doesn’t have to follow the county law protecting oak trees. That is because Ventura County describes the side medians full of oak and olive trees along Kanan Road as part of the road right-of-way, and therefore it is exempt from zoning laws.
I learned this from a handout from Jan Osterhaven, who is Supervisor Parks’ aide, at the Oak Park Municipal Advisory Council gathering tonight (7-28). The handout was an email, supposedly sent to me by the Director of the VC Transportation Department, David Fleisch, which I did not receive.
But I can relax, now that I have read it. David Fleisch says in a copy of the disputed email: “With regard to the oak and olive trees, the bus shelter pad is a sufficient distance from the oak tree trunk and should not affect the tree.” Hmmm, there seems to be a difference of opinion here between VC Public Works and the Tree Ordinance. I measured the distance from the trunk to the edge of the cement pad and it is four feet. The Ordinance says the minimum distance should be 15 feet. Who should I believe?
After much thought, I have decided I can’t relax, after all. Instead, I am asking the Ventura County Public Works Department to remove the cement pad they just poured to give the required 15 feet clearance for the oak tree and to put the bench on the remaining cement pad, where there is plenty of room. Oh, and forget about the shelter. It is not appropriate in this area where residences face the street.
Ojai trolley shelter, said to be similar to what will be installed on Kanan Road.
It turns out that what the Ventura County Transportation Commission will be installing at the corner of Kanan Road and Conifer Street is a bus shelter, with bench and trash can and recycling can, not simply a bus bench. That is why the cement pad is so big. I think the corner of Kanan and Conifer is an inappropriate location for this, since it is on a median in front of single family residences. Placing the shelters at the other stops in Oak Park would be a whole different matter because homes don’t directly face them. I support bus shelters in those locations, even though it seems to me that a bench would have been enough.
It would be interesting to know what this is costing!
I love the contrast of the parking lot and antique store row at Whizin Market Square with the gold and green rolling hills in the background. The Conejo Valley is a beautiful place!
Today a 2-man crew is digging up a lot of turf in the Kanan Road median at Conifer Street in Oak Park in preparation for pouring cement for a walkway and bus bench. When I heard last month at the Oak Park MAC that benches were going to be installed at Kanan Shuttle stops, I pictured a very small cement pad and bench. However, as you can see by the photos I took today, this is not what is happening.
First of all, I do not think that a bench should be installed in a residential area where the houses directly face the bus stop. The Kanan/Conifer stop is the only one where this is the case. If a bus bench is wanted, then Ventura County should move the bus stop up to Kanan and Sunnycrest and place it in front of the Community Garden!
However, if that is not doable, at least do NOT put in a walkway. It has not been needed this past year and is not needed now. Then, sharply reduce the size of the cement pad for the bench, and above all, do not place it so close to the oak tree and the olive tree. The oak tree is protected by Ventura County law, and, I believe that cement would have to be at least 6 feet from the trunk, if not to the tree’s drip line.
I have spoken with Supervisor Linda Parks on this county project and hopefully it will be modified to be more compatible with the neighborhood.
Janna Orkney, editor
The white and black planes of Mount Hood appeared from my window on an Alaska Airlines plane as we approached for landing at the Portland Airport. Usually the mountain is a brilliant white, clothed in snow, and it was a shock to me to see it with so much snow gone from it.
The mountain’s condition just goes to show that the lack of precipitation and the abundance of heat we are experiencing in SoCal does extend up the entire Pacific Coast. In fact, for about the past three weeks, Seattle and Portland have logged in higher temperatures than Los Angeles.
Burgerville window in Tigard, Oregon
When strawberries were ripe in the fields around Portland, Oregon, in early June, you could enjoy a strawberry shortcake made with local berries at a Burgerville fast food restaurant. Yum! I visited Portland again in late June after the major strawberry season had wound down, and found that the fast food chain was then offering shakes made with local raspberries.
Another surprise for me came when I ordered a kid’s fish and chips meal at Burgerville. Did I receive a plastic toy that would break in 5 minutes? No! With my meal was a packet of non-GMO yellow squash seeds!
Way to go Burgerville! It made me realize that Ventura County is such a natural place for promoting local fruit and produce, too. I would love to see signs at Conejo Valley fast food places, advertising menu items made with local berries or onions or oranges or avocados…
The students in their robes of gold or black started processing on to the Oak Park High School football field for their graduation ceremony last evening, as the school orchestra played “Pomp and Circumstance.” Of course, I was dabbing my eyes with a tissue as I waited to see my eldest grandchild, Alexa, pass in front of the bleachers where I was sitting with other family members.
The ceremony was beautiful and I was moved, and very proud to be witnessing a first passage into adulthood for so many students, especially my granddaughter. Congratulations, Alexa!