2017-02-16 / Front Page

Agoura survey says traffic is a pain

But residents generally happy with quality of life
By Stephanie Bertholdo

An online survey in Agoura Hills shows residents are generally satisfied with the quality of life in their community, but not so happy about the city’s aging shopping centers and the traffic on Kanan Road.

Amy Brink, director of community services, provided results of the survey at a Jan. 25 City Council meeting.

Brink said the city convened a Community Services Coalition about a year ago to create the survey questions. The panel was headed by volunteers Joice Corridori, Sue Lepisto, Russ Sharp and Stan Slawson.

Many respondents said they appreciate the small-town, rural ambiance of Agoura Hills with its ample open space, high-quality schools and numerous public parks. The city’s senior program, public library, recreation center, and the fact that parking meters aren’t used in the city also landed in the positive column.

The most popular offerings are concerts, sports, classes, art exhibits and other special events hosted by the city each year. Respondents also approve of bike lanes and hiking trails.

Many residents say they love that their city is close to equestrian activities, wildlife and the beach.

Respondents elaborated on the amenities and services they would like to see improved in Agoura Hills. Brink said numerous people expressed concern about the overall look of the city. Although Agoura Hills long ago outlawed billboards of a certain size, many people want city officials to remove smaller billboards as well.

The survey also revealed that most people feel safe living in Agoura Hills. Yet some said they believe crime is on the rise and that the city should pay for added security.

There’s also concern about the condition of city streets.

And, as in past surveys, many residents say they would love to see a dog park constructed in Agoura Hills.

Brink said she was pleased to discover that 80 percent of the respondents had participated in a community event, including Reyes Adobe Days, concerts or movies in the park, and events at the recreation center.

Slawson said some respondents want to improve the shopping centers in Agoura Hills by bringing in more diverse, non-chain restaurants and entertainment.

Brink said residents also want a central gathering place like the new Village in Woodland Hills. Officials are currently planning for development of Agoura Village, which would give the city its first true town center.

Speaking of business growth, many citizens said the city needs a larger tax base, which would boost employment in the area. Respondents also asked the city to do a better job in promoting local businesses.

Corridori said most respondents want to maintain the small-town feel of Agoura Hills.

“We’ve heard this time and time again since we became a city,” Corridori said. She noted that one respondent bemoaned the traffic on Kanan Road but also wished Agoura Hills would have approved a Costco or Target in town.

Corridori said housing affordability is a concern for a specific demographic—growing families. She heard from residents in the 35-to-44 age bracket who said that, as their families grew and they needed a larger home, they couldn’t afford to stay in Agoura Hills.

Lepisto said respondents felt their quality of life was linked to high-quality schools, public safety, the physical environment, city services and a sense of community.

City Councilmember Illece Buckley Weber asked if the committee would continue to study the responses so the council could consider future policies that meet the needs of residents.

Mayor Denis Weber told Brink he’d be happy to meet with the committee to further discuss the concerns of Agoura Hills’ residents.

Of the nearly 400 residents who responded to the survey, 75 percent were female, Brink said. The majority of respondents were between the ages of 45 and 54.

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