VENTURA, Calif. – The County of Ventura (“County”), the Ventura County Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (CoLAB), and the Ventura County Agricultural Association (VCAA) are pleased to announce the settlement of CoLAB’s and VCAA’s lawsuit challenging the County’s approval of the 2040 Ventura County General Plan (General Plan). Resolution of the lawsuit resulted from constructive discussions involving multiple County officials including Agricultural Commissioner Ed Williams, Resource Management Agency Director Kim Prillhart, Planning Director Dave Ward, as well as CoLAB’s Executive Director Louise Lampara, VCAA’s President and General Counsel Robert Roy, and members of Ventura County’s agricultural community.
“Agriculture has played a central role in our County’s history, and it is imperative we work with the agricultural community to ensure it remains a thriving feature of our local community for years to come,” stated Supervisor Matt LaVere, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “I look forward to continuing conversations about how the County can best support our farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers.”
Through a collaborative process, the parties prepared an implementation guide for the General Plan to ensure that certain policies and programs are accurately interpreted and implemented in accordance with the Board of Supervisor’s original intent. The clarifications emphasize the County’s role in supporting willing members of the agricultural community and avoiding actions that could unintentionally harm agricultural operations. The implementation guide does not change the General Plan itself.
“The County is pleased to have arrived at a settlement that is supported by our agricultural community and takes into consideration thoughtful planning for the future of our communities,” said Dr. Sevet Johnson, County Executive Officer. “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to sit at the table with leaders from the agricultural community across our county and find common ground, ultimately arriving at a settlement that benefits all parties involved.”
To effectuate the settlement, on February 7, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution establishing this implementation guide. To build upon the parties’ partnership going forward, the County will convene additional regular meetings with the agricultural community and seek input regarding issues impacting local agriculture, such as agricultural conservation easements.