Preserving a Vibrant Agricultural Community in Southern California
The tiny town of Somis lies in the heart of Las Posas Valley, one of Ventura County’s richest agricultural regions. For many years, Caltrans had plans on its books to widen two-lane Highway 118 through Las Posas Valley, to create a multi-lane thoroughfare for trucks and other commercial vehicles. So, when Caltrans announced plans in 2002 to construct a massive intersection project where Highway 118 runs through Somis, residents objected to this first step in Caltrans’ plan to construct a major transportation corridor through their area. Community members turned to CEQA. Through comments on Caltrans’ environmental document, they were able to demonstrate the project’s potential to forever alter the agricultural character of the Las Posas Valley. After the Somis group prevailed in court, Caltrans recognized that a smaller project along the lines proposed by the community would solve any local traffic congestion. This smaller intersection, moreover, could be funded entirely with local monies and built quickly, with less disruption for the driving public.