Oxnard to hold meeting on short-term rentals

In ’n’ out isn’t just the name of a burger joint, it’s also the trend in communities the world over as short-term vacation rentals explode into the marketplace. Now, the city of Oxnard will host a public meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 16, to gather input regarding a proposed city ordinance possibly limiting and restricting short-term rentals in the city.

Staff from the city’s Development Services Department and Planning Division will host and provide an overview to community members of current rules and regulations regarding the rentals, referred to as STRs, and gather input.

A short-term rental is described as one of less than 30 days at a time. Popular websites such as AirBnB and HomeAway have elevated the use of STRs over the past few years as vacationers and travelers seek alternative accommodations.

In March and April of this year, the city opened a survey for residents, gauging opinions on STRs. Sixty percent of the 840 respondents either live near or operate an STR in the Oxnard Shores community; and across the entire city, just over 18 percent said that there are “16 or more” short-term rentals that they are aware of in their own neighborhoods.

Forty-five percent of respondents said that they feel that STRs have a negative impact on their communities, with 15 percent saying that they have a positive impact. Just over half said that STRs should require a permit to operate.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 5-7:30 p.m., at the Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center, Oxnard Room, 800 Hobson Way in Oxnard. For more information, visit www.oxnard.org/str or call 385-7858.

Memorial for 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster

At approximately 11:57 p.m. on March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam just north of Santa Clarita failed, catastrophically. A 140-foot-tall flood wave swept down the San Francisquito Canyon, taking with it 12.4 billion gallons of water and as many as 425 lives.

It took just five hours for the water to reach the ocean, but it took 88 years for a potential memorial to be created in honor of the victims. Now, a bill to create a memorial is making its way through the U.S. Senate with the support, by unanimous vote on Aug. 2 of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.

The initial memorial bill was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, and Steve Knight, R-Lancaster, in May, and since has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for further consideration.

The bill would authorize the Department of Agriculture to establish, within three years, the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial in Los Angeles County at the former site of the original dam.

Currently, the site is graffiti-marked and frequently vandalized, according to Supervisor Kathy Long (District 3)’s office. Long’s territory includes part of the Santa Clara Valley, where present-day Santa Clarita exists.

“I am proud to support the efforts of congressional members Julia Brownley and Steve Knight as they seek to honor the memories of the lives lost, and the stories of heroism, by establishing a permanent National Memorial and Monument,” said Long.

The bill will need to pass the House and Senate before heading to President Barack Obama’s desk for approval.

Conservation Corps member chosen to work “down under”

A member of the California Conservation Corps’ Camarillo Center will spend the next few months getting up-close and personal with kangaroos for Conservation Volunteers Australia.

Katherine Diaz, 27, will work on flood recovery efforts, a community garden and other natural resource projects. Diaz will join eight other Corps members from around the state.

The exchange program began in 1988 and has continued every year since. Corps members pay their own way to and from Australia, and room and board are deducted from their paychecks.

The California Conservation Corps is a state agency for young men and women aged 18-25.