What is the history of the North Business Park Specific Plan? Why was it created?

From the late 1960s through the 1980s, the area north of the 101 Ventura Freeway and west of Lindero Canyon Road was developed with a variety of office, commercial, and industrial uses as envisioned by the original master plan for Westlake Village. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a combination of increasing land values, an evolving economy, and regional economic pressures resulted in several industrial properties in the area being redeveloped with non-industrial uses. These include the Four Seasons Hotel, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (formerly Dole), Oaks Christian School, and Calvary Community Church. In response to this redevelopment, the City in 2007 recognized the need for a framework to guide further redevelopment. A plan for the area would provide certainty for property owners about how they could use and develop their properties in the future and would ensure that development would be consistent with the community’s character and could be accommodated by the City’s infrastructure.

In October 2009, the City Council contracted with The Arroyo Group and appointed a City Council Ad-Hoc Committee to prepare a study of potential redevelopment of the area. The study looked at several topics including real estate valuation, economic viability, land use compatibility, and infrastructure adequacy. A series of meetings were held in 2010 and 2011 with a variety of stakeholders including property owners, real estate professionals, and homeowners association representatives. Based on the input received at those meetings, The Arroyo Group and the Ad-Hoc Committee developed several alternative development scenarios for City Council consideration. In May 2011, the City Council selected a preferred scenario and directed The Arroyo Group to prepare a draft specific plan and associated environmental impact analysis based on the preferred development scenario.

In 2014, a draft specific plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) were completed. The traffic analysis in the Draft EIR concluded that the preferred development scenario would result in traffic impacts that were deemed unacceptable. Various alternative scenarios and potential mitigation strategies were studied over the next few years, culminating in a revised preferred development scenario in 2017. The revised scenario reduced the proposed development intensity from the 2014 draft specific plan by about 35% and changed the mix of land uses to reduce traffic volumes during peak hours. In 2018, the City Council contracted with Civic Solutions and Psomas to prepare a revised draft specific plan and Draft EIR based on the new preferred development scenario.

The revised draft specific plan and Draft EIR were completed and released for public review in early 2019. The City Council appointed a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to provide input on the new draft specific plan. The CAC consisted of 10 Westlake Village residents representing multiple neighborhoods across the community. The CAC held a series of five community meetings in 2019 and 2020 to discuss and provide feedback on the revised draft specific plan.

A revised draft specific plan was prepared in 2020 in response to feedback from the City Council, CAC, and public. The 2020 draft reduced by more than 40% the residential unit capacity of the 2019 draft and included other minor revisions. In June 2020, the City Council adopted the North Business Park Specific Plan and certified the EIR.

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1. What is the history of the North Business Park Specific Plan? Why was it created?
2. Why does the Specific Plan allow for residential development?
3. How does the Specific Plan relate to the General Plan Housing Element?