Despite pressure from the glitterati in Los Angeles, the Ahmanson Ranch, a proposed 3,050-home development project in Southern California, received a crucial vote of confidence from Ventura County supervisors yesterday, when they agreed in a 4-1 vote that the project would effectively balance the region’s housing needs with its environmental concerns. The Ahmanson Ranch project has been in the works for a decade, but Washington Mutual Bank, which owns and wants to develop the property, has faced resistance at nearly every turn. Indeed, no sooner did the supervisors cast their votes than opponents promised to file legal challenges to overturn the decision. Critics of the proposed housing complex want the land to be turned over to a conservation organization; their numbers include environmentalists, residents of neighboring areas, and a healthy dose of Hollywood celebrities. In addition to navigating any potential legal challenges, Washington Mutual must now obtain permits from the California Department of Fish and Game, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
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