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Heights, Density and Planning for a More Affordable Ventura

Many industries in this county are faltering because skilled employees, turn down job offers after discovering they are unable to find a place they can afford. Continuing the fight for housing affordability for starter families, graduates coming out of college and seniors on a fixed income is integral in sustaining a strong workforce.

This means we need housing. As current Chair of General Plan Advisory Committee, delegate to the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and former Chair of the HOPES  (Housing Opportunities, Proactive Engagement, and Solutions) committee. It has been my intent to make sure the opportunity for affordable housing alternatives were seriously considered while furthering the idea that housing is needed for our residents, our workers, our seniors and our children. I will continue this fight.

Do I personally believe that the city should promote infill developments all over downtown that result in six story buildings? The answer is no.

Could there be a few select areas across the city that could allow for it? I invite the public to join the GPAC conversation by visiting and give your opinion because I believe that is what truly matters. Future city planning should continue to be in the hands of community citizens.

The question that should be asked is, are six stories already allowed? The answer to that question is technically, per state law, yes. The next question is, does any city plan require that six stories be built? The answer to that question is a resounding no.

The currently proposed plan would decrease the number of higher heights and denser projects than currently allowed across the city, by identifying specific core areas where certain heights and density are not just possible but feasible. This is a better approach.

The existing plan that we are seeking to update, allowed for higher density and higher building heights along major corridors. This presented major concerns in R-1 residential areas with single-family homes.

It is also important to point out that it is a plan, not a commitment and does not set a pace for development.

Also note that, five and six story buildings come with increased permitting and entitlement fees. With increased fees, come decreased land values. Many  developers have no interest in building extremely high units when it is not cost beneficial.

Let’s explore the facts: Currently, renters in Ventura represent almost 50% of the population and  from 2021 to 2022 rents have increased 11%. For example, for one renter whose rent was $1850 in 2021, is now $2800, for a 273 sq ft space, which means it costs more to rent than to pay a home mortgage, per local Homes for All housing advocate.

In addition, the average home costs $815,000 in Ventura, so home owners who purchased a home years ago could not afford to buy a home today.

There is something we can do about it.

Let’s continue to plan for a better future.

Visit: and add your voice to the conversation.


Committee to Re-Elect Lorrie Brown | FPPC# 1454204
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