Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 12:26 am | Fair 64º


Local News

Carpinteria to Study Effects of Venoco’s Paredon Initiative

The council votes to have city staff verify voter signatures for the project and report back

The Carpinteria City Council voted unanimously Monday to have city staff prepare a study examining the effects of an initiative that could end up on a future ballot.

Signatures were gathered earlier this year to place a slant-drilling operation on the ballot as a citizens initiative. The oil company behind the project, Venoco Inc., argues that its proposed Paredon oil-drilling project would be a boon to city coffers as well as state revenues.

It also says it wants Carpinteria residents to decide the fate of the project. City officials appealed that decision earlier this year, citing concerns that the company could be trying to circumvent the environmental review required for a project of that magnitude.

The council directed staff on Monday to begin verifying all of the signatures gathered, after which they’ll present it back to the City Council.

At that point, the council will have two options, according to City Manager Dave Durflinger. The council could adopt the proposed legislation, which would void the need for an election, or schedule an election and let the populace decide.

In either case, the law allows the council to order a report, which also would serve to disseminate information to the public. Since the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, doesn’t apply to initiatives, the study would allow the council to look at possible environmental effects of the project.

In addition to a comparison of those impacts, the council also asked staff to analyze fiscal effects on the community, as well as how the project fits into Carpinteria’s general and coastal plans.

The initiative is still under appeal, but the initiative process continues even when the matter is in court. It’s unknown at this point when an appeals court will take up the case.

Durflinger said staff most likely will bring the report before the council in the next couple of months. Although the date is uncertain, staff will provide the study no later than 30 days after the city clerk verifies the petition to the City Council.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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