2020 Ventura County General Plan – Through extensive outreach and education, CoLAB coordinated efforts of business, labor, agricultural, and community organizations to submit thousands of public comments/letters on the inconsistencies, wildfire and health hazards, lack of outreach to Latino community, and economically harmful policies in the General Plan. Despite the overwhelming public outcry, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to adopt the General Plan, even though the Chair of the Planning Commission stated that the EIR was flawed and incorrect. VC CoLAB filed a lawsuit against the County of Ventura in October 2020 which is currently in process.
2020 Public comments at BOS hearings during COVID - WIN! Convinced the County to allow for “real time” Zoom and phone in comments at public hearings held while the public was barred from attending public hearings because of government-mandated COVID shutdown restrictions.
2020 On-going advocacy for local agriculture – Supported partners throughout the state with public comments and information to advocate for Delta Conveyance, economic support for COVID related impacts, and farmworker housing and workforce sustainability.
2020 Permanent Hemp Ordinance - WIN! Working with VC Farm Bureau and VC Agricultural Association, VC CoLAB pushed the BOS to adopt reasonable set back measures that would still allow for the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp in Ventura County and preserve protections under the Right to Farm Ordinance.
2016 – 2019 Advocacy for agriculture at the monthly Fox Canyon GMA Technical Advisory Group
WIN: Support for the technical experts on the TAG held the County accountable for scientific analysis during the sustainable groundwater management plan process.
2018-2019 Permits for local petroleum producers
WIN: Testimony to support an objective permit process for local oil producers facilitated several critical votes at the Board of Supervisors.
2019 Hemp Moratorium in Ventura County
WIN: VC CoLAB advocated for hemp growers after a tough first harvest season, providing GIS maps, organizing testimony and working with the Agricultural Commissioner to ease unnecessary restrictions.
2019 New Wildlife Corridor Ordinance
WIN: Worked with County Planning to change unreasonable restrictions in this ordinance that would severely challenge private property owners in the urban interface and increase fire danger. Organized testimony and gained significant changes at the Planning Commission, some that were overturned by the Board of Supervisors. Frustrated with the scientific basis and unworkable rules in the ordinance, VC CoLAB filed a lawsuit against the County of Ventura in June of 2019 which is currently in process.
2019 Glyphosate Restrictions
WIN: Provided testimony at the Board of Supervisors to support reasonable restrictions on glyphosate, supporting the County Public Works Agency’s goal of protecting public health and economic feasibility.
2018 Education campaign on fire risk in areas without vegetation management
WIN: Raised the awareness of the importance of vegetation management and controlled burns in reducing wildfires. VC CoLAB analyzed County Wildfire Protection Plans, showing a lack implementation before the Thomas Fire and predicting the devastation of the Woolsey Fire.
2018 Advocacy for agriculture and economics in the General Plan Update process
WIN: Beneficial changes to the General Plan Vision Statement and Guiding Principles were adopted by the Board of Supervisors where businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers were well represented.
2018 Advocacy for changes to the Dark Sky Ordinance
WIN: VC CoLAB secured significant improvements to this ordinance that restricts outdoor lighting on private properties (based on poorly controlled studies) ultimately securing some exemptions for farmers and ranchers.
2018 County Counsel revision of the Ventura County Event Ordinance (post-lawsuit)
WIN: VC CoLAB worked with County Counsel on revisions that were accepted by the Planning Commission. Member testimony at the Board of Supervisors gained important exceptions to support charitable events and improve the ordinance.
2018 Key Meeting with senior administration officials of NOAA Fisheries, United Water Conservation District and a diverse group of water users
WIN: VC CoLAB organized this groundbreaking meeting, seeking to expedite the permit process and resolve issues with operating the Freeman Diversion to allow for fish passage while ensuring sufficient water to manage groundwater aquifers. VC CoLAB received the United Water Conservation District “RICHARD V. LAUBACHER WATER AWARD” from the Association of Water Agencies in 2019 for our efforts.
2017 Advocacy for an ombudsman position in the County CEO’s office to assist project proponents in permit processing
WIN: County CEO hired Dr. Rachel Linares as a Continuous Process Improvement Manager in May of 2017.
2017 General Plan Update Process
WIN: VC CoLAB members and Board members were invited to participate in each of the General Plan Focus Groups to represent our members.
2017 Pre-approved building plans for Farmworker and Accessory Dwellings
WIN: County Building and safety created building plans for 700, 900 and 1200 SF units that are currently being revised per VC CoLAB comments.
2016 VC CoLAB negotiations with the SOAR Organization
WIN: VC CoLAB negotiated key beneficial economic language into the final SOAR 2050 Initiative to benefit agriculture in Ventura County.
2016 Sustain VC alternative ballot measure to SOAR
WIN: Ran a competing ballot Measure F to educate the community on the challenges faced by local farmers and ranchers. The ballot measure won a majority of votes in the cities/communities of Oxnard, Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru.
2016 Pressured Ventura LAFCO to begin recording public meetings
WIN: VC CoLAB, as sole testimony at the January 2016 LAFCO hearing, gained a 7-0 vote to record all regular and special meetings with recordings saved for a minimum of 7 years.
2016 Ventura LAFCO agricultural mitigation project
WIN: Ventura LAFCO adopted reasonable agricultural mitigation requirements per VC CoLAB recommendations, defending private property in the urban interface.
2016 Quarterly meetings with the County CEO’s Office
WIN: Quarterly meetings include County CEO and Directors of the Resource Management and Public Works Agencies. Meetings gained improvements in the County Survey Department permit processing time and better communication of process issues.
2014 Public education campaign on endangered Steelhead in the Santa Clara River
WIN: Educated our members and the community on the millions of steelhead that were stocked into the Santa Clara and Ventura Rivers from 1887 to 1939 (research provided by United Water Conservation District and National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration).
2013 Defeat of the Piru Recreational Trail through prime farmland
WIN: VC CoLAB analyzed construction plans, environmental documents and organized testimony, successfully defeating this bike path to nowhere, heading east from Piru for 1 mile and ending in the middle of a farm field.
2012 Agricultural Grading Ordinance
WIN: VC CoLAB led 18 months of meetings with the County and agricultural stakeholders, successfully eliminating new proposed agricultural grading standards that would have subjected routine agricultural projects to environmental review by the Public Works Agency.
2012 Second Dwelling Unit size increase
WIN: Agricultural interests advocated for larger second dwelling units on 40-acre parcels resulting in an increase from 1200 to 1800 square feet.
2012 Support for Rangeland Management
WIN: VC CoLAB members’ testimony at the Planning Commission facilitated a 4-1 vote for an appeal of a violation for alleged grading in a Scenic Resource Protection zone.
2011 County Biology Guidelines
WIN: Hired a prominent consulting biologist and successfully resolved 22 of the 25 issues in a proposed complicated set of Biological Guidelines that threatened the Agricultural Industry.
2011 South Coast Missing Linkages mapping
WIN: Pushed back on the science of SCML, changing the language in the Biological Guidelines to add a warning on using such mapping for biological analysis.
2011 Locally Important Species
WIN: Successful in convincing the County to revise the Locally Important Species listing and de-listing process to be reviewed annually and be open to the public.