Last week's letter to the Acorn from Michael Adler, the developer of the Shops at Oak Creek, took a decidedly negative turn. When I began this campaign I promised to take the high road, and I won't change that promise. But, because of the misinformation in Mr. Adler’s letter, I feel that it is appropriate to set the record straight with the truth.
When the Shops at Oak Creek development came before the planning commission several years ago, Trader Joe's and Jinky's were not even proposed tenants. Mr. Adler knows that better than anyone. The site plan submitted to the planning commission was for retail and dining on both parcels. The primary reason that the Planning Commission did not approve the development was because we believed there should be a pedestrian bridge over the creek joining the two parcels together. The Agoura Hills General Plan emphasizes pedestrian friendly commercial and retail centers. The vision for this city has been to connect centers so people could walk and ride bikes from one center to the next for all of the reasons you can imagine. Without a bridge, it was extremely unlikely that people would walk along Canwood from one parcel to the other, and in fact, they don’t. We also preferred to see the restaurants face the creek so customers could enjoy our creek and its natural landscaping, the large oak on the west parcel, and the views of Ladyface Mountain while dining. I wasn't anti Trader Joe’s, Jinky’s or any other business in either center. Neither were the other Commissioners in attendance at the hearing who voted the same way. Rather, we support our General Plan, support pedestrian friendly, quality development that benefits our residents.
There is no doubt that these two centers are good examples of quality development. The planning commission over the years, even those that preceded me, made several suggestions that improved the project and I'm proud of the outcome. I just wish we could stroll from one side to the other. Lastly, Mr. Adler knows that my statement about the fish restaurant was said in total jest, and it certainly was not the reason that the planning commission voted against the project. These are the facts.