Thousand Oaks pays $1 million for scenic open space

Thousand Oaks quickly put $1 million in the pocket of the Operating Engineers Pension Trust Fund after the group’s Realtor advertised in the Dec. 18 Thousand Oaks Acorn.

Source of this article – Thousand Oaks Acorn, January 8, 2009

The real estate advertisement in the paper caught the interest of city officials, who quickly made an offer to pay the asking price of $1 million for 8.7 acres of land to be used as open space, said city spokesperson Andrew Powers.

Other offers were made, but the city closed on the deal on Dec. 31.

Though the ad suggested possibly building an estate or a ranch on the land, the city has long had other plans for the property surrounded by open space and with a striking view of the Santa Monica Mountains and Pacific Ocean.

It’s located near the intersection west of West Potrero Road and Via Acosta in Dos Vientos.

“This is an extremely important piece to the city’s open space portfolio,” Powers said.

A private individual could have purchased the land and developed it since it is already graded, has street frontage and utility access, he said.

That’s why the city moved so quickly.

“This is critical linkage for the city to complete the ‘ring of green’ around Thousand Oaks,” Powers said.

The parcel has been at the top of the list of acquisitions by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, an organization that links the city with Conejo Recreation and Park District.

To purchase it, the city used money from the Community Recreation and Open Space Endowment Fund, which totaled $2.1 million before the purchase. That money comes from developer fees and golf course fees for nonresidents, Powers said.

The fund can only be used for acquisitions, improvements and development of open space, public parks, parkways and medians, the ordinance states.

The City Council has been looking into buying that land since 2002, but the owners and the city couldn’t come to terms, Powers said.

Early on the city had an appraisal valuing the property at about $3 million. The seller wanted more, he said.

Councilmember Claudia Bill de la Peña was on the negotiation team at the time and said, “In my opinion, the seller was asking too much.”

So when the price went down, Bill-de la Peña said, she was glad the city was ready to act quickly to acquire it.


 

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