A rezoning request to build 79 homes at a golf course has been rejected by the Camarillo City Council.

By a 4-1 vote, the Council turned down the proposed residential development at Sterling Hills Golf Club. As a result, the city will no longer entertain the general plan amendment application submitted by the project’s developers.


Owner John Zaruka, who had purchased the property four years ago for $6 million with his wife Linda, intended to build the homes on 20 acres of the 220-acre Sterling Hills spread in partnership with Arizona-headquartered developer Parks Legacy Project. The project had been dubbed La Vida at Sterling Hills.


The Zarukas — Camarillo residents and one-time owners of Wedgewood Banquet, a wedding and event services company — invested in the property with the intention of selling a portion of the acreage to a developer to pay down debt and finance repairs for the golf course, which opened 21 years ago at 901 Sterling Hills Drive. At the meeting, John Zaruka acknowledged that the golf industry had fallen on hard times and that revenue from the residential project was necessary to keep the golf course afloat.


However, a 1998 restriction in city documents stated that the property could not be used “for any purpose other than a golf course, restaurant, assemblies, weddings and any other uses not prohibited by zoning or other ordinances.”


City Attorney Brian Pierik said at the meeting that he interpreted the restriction to mean that the land could be used for purposes other than golf or events if they were not prohibited by the general plan amendment, zoning codes and other city ordinances. However, the project’s proponents had requested to amend the general plan and zoning stipulations.


According to media reports, the Zarukas will be deciding whether to apply again or sell the property.