Thursday, April 13, 2006

SmUGGIE - Oxnard (again, sigh)

Here it is, the ghost town of the future:

Don’t let anyone tell you Ventura County is a slow growth anti-development area. We are screaming DENSITY! on this one. 2800 dwelling units on "700 acres." Well... not really but 4DU/ac sounds so innocuous whilst the reality of 250 acres of "open space" aka unbuildable floodplain and surface runoff retention basins and "pocket parks" changes the calculation. But that's not all, there's a commercial componet and a town square and a wine garden. All told we are talking effectively 16DU/ac as normally reckoned. 1800 "homes" and 1000 apartment type units are planned. So big and so risky RiverPark SFRS will be built by Shea Homes, Centex Homes, and Standard Pacific Homes.

Talk about your perfect storms. Peak of a multi-decadal market cycle, rising construction financing costs, illegal immigration blowback, tightened lending standards, demographics, California, Oxnard and more. Wait until you drill down at the website for the prices. Townhomes and triplexes from the "Low $500,000s." Zero lot line SFRs with postage stamp yards from the "High $700,000s" and up. Way up. Lots of 3 car garages and now look at this map:

Okay, 3 exiting streets and 10,000 people. The standard for the area is about 10vpd/person. Nice round number one hundred thousand vpd. Another standard; peak morning/evening hour load 14% of vpd. In one hour they are expecting to push about 8,000 vph. A primary collector arterial lane can possibly handle 1,800 vph so they'd need 5 lanes in each direction. They got three. Welcome to Oxnard.


Anonymous said...

So, you're worried about traffic congestion in a "ghost town"?

You are wrong about sales in that developement, Robert, and the magnitude of your misunderstanding will be soon evident.

Rob Dawg said...

You conflate two complaints.

1. Even as a massive financial failure traffic congestion will still be intractable.

2. There are going to be lots of sales, that was obvious 6 months ago with pre-sales activity. That said Ithink that's pretty much all the sales we'll see. The ghost town prediction is because there won't be enoough people to reach the critical urban mass necessary to exhibit "vitality."

Anonymous said...

No more new sales, and a "massive financial failure" which will suffer from traffic congestion and a lack of "vitality", thereby rendering it a "ghost town".

Ok. Got it.

Rob Dawg said...

I'm not making myself clear. Riverpark is a clusterf@ck from start to finish. It is so dense that no matter how much is built/occupied traffic flow will not be acceptable as designed. The special assessment district imposes crushing surcharges on property purchases, something like $4000 per year for street lighting and landscaping. The mixed use village components are woefully underserved for parking which will change the commercial demographics for the worse. Rents will be so high that overcrowding will be commonplace. The high Hispanic population of Oxnard will probably prove enough of a deterent to other demographics that there is a real risk of Riverpark becoming "Parque del Río." Harsh but realistic. The financing of the public infrastructure is shaky making it possible that in the event of a general downturn the private builders will seek damages from the City.

Here's what I envision: 2010 with half the homes and 1/4 the rental units built the City is in a cash crunch as there isn't enough tax money to cover the promised new schools and traffic mitigation. The 3 builders are suing the City for non-performance seeking damages as they cannot sell their projects. Low commercial volume causes upscale retail to abandon their leases and desperate building owners sublet to marginal ethnic retailers. The obviously changed character disenchants the new urbanist pioneer types and a spiral initiates. The cash strapped city awards development concessions that exacerbate all of thee above.

Now am I explaining my position? You don't have to agree but do youunderstand? Note; I am on a first name basis with every member of the City Council. i'm not just looking at this project from afar and none of the developments I outlinewould be unique either. They've all happened before.

Anonymous said...


A partially-built, tangled-up-in-litigation, traffic-congested Mexnard with vacant lots, unfinished infrastructure and services, and strip centers with consignment shops, mexican restaurants, laundrymats and swap meet in the parking lots.

By 2010.

Got it.

Anonymous said...

this quality of planning is about average for central california these days...some is even worse,my first look at tis site,i like the professional approach,no name calling even thogh the folks who ok'd this project shared w's stash/

Anonymous said...

strip centers with consignment shops

who is going to be doing the stripping? I hope it is young, pretty girls, and not some unsightly thing. Maybe it will be the ghost.

Rob Dawg said...

You wouldn't believe it. The latest installment is Oxnard City officals travelling to Rancho Cucamonga to see their NURB faux village mall.

Oh and a 1/2 mi away across the freeway a proposal for 3 condo towers 25-37 stories. Talk about a perfect storm.

Anonymous said...

Every time I drive past this mess (and having lived in Ventura and Camarillo for most of the late 90s, I spent a LOT of time on the freeway of unending bridge construction) I just can't believe they chose his area for a new urbanist development. I know the land was cheap (for obvious reasons), but how many consumers of $500K mortgages are going to live in VTA County and, if they do, don't they come specificially to escape density and the Oxnard milieu?

Anonymous said...

I used to live around there... bad place to in an earthquake, high water table.