Chris Anstead, a newly elected Agoura Hills City Council member, appointed Murtaza Mogri to the city’s planning commission. Anstead said he wanted someone on the panel who shared his vision about the importance of getting new residents involved in the community.
“The majority of past planning commissioners have been residents (of Agoura Hills) all of their lives, and I wanted to bring a new perspective to the planning commission that values our environment, while at the same time meeting the needs of our young professionals that have recently moved to Agoura,” Anstead said. “I’m confident that Murtaza will make smart decisions that will enhance our community.”
Mogri, 37, meets Anstead’s criteria. With a Ph.D. in bioengineering and neuroscience from Stanford, Mogri moved to Agoura Hills in 2017.
He may be a newcomer to the city, but it didn’t him take long to realize that traffic congestion is an issue that impacts all, including students.
On Kanan Road, traffic is made worse by students and residents converging on the roads at the same time each morning and afternoon.
Mogri said traffic mitigation will be near the top of his list when he begins his new role evaluating developments and other construction projects in Agoura Hills.
The environment will also be a focus for the new commissioner.
“I want to help make sure that as we have new developments, we take into account our beautiful local environment,” he said.
Mogri said he has closely followed the controversy over Cornerstone, the first Agoura Village project approved by the council in 2017.
“The development, (which) has been pushed through, is concerning for me. I don’t think the plan was fully analyzed according to rules and processes,” he said.
As a commissioner, Mogri plans on looking into how and why certain ordinances were passed concerning development.
But the rules and regulations established by the city are not the only concerns expressed by Mogri. He expects to delve into all aspects of potential development applications while adhering to the letter—and spirit—of the law. He wants to be responsive to the interests of community members and will make sure that their concerns are heard and questions answered.
Mogri works at a medical device startup company in Agoura Hills that is conducting a study for a product that treats heart failure. Involvement with complex issues in the medical field has helped Mogri hone his ability to understand how the small details can have a large impact.
He said he’s ready for the next stage in his career.
“I have had a lot of time to think about urban planning and community issues,” he said.
Mogri has fallen in love with Agoura Hills.
“It’s such a beautiful city,” he said.
After visiting extended family recently in India—and driving home on the 101 Freeway into Agoura Hills—he marveled at his new hometown.
“The grass and the green hills—the landscape is recovering (from the fires), and I think the community will recover as well,” he said.
Mogri is married to Catherine Ferguson, a physician who works in Ojai.