COUNTYWIDE : Hearing on Jail Plan Scheduled for April

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to hold a special public hearing in April on plans to build a jail near Santa Paula.

The environmental impact report for the jail will be considered at the hearing, as well as staffing and questions about the jail's life span that have dogged the project since its inception.

Since the Board of Supervisors tentatively approved the jail site in 1990, the county has spent about $10 million to buy the land, design a building and study its impact.

During a public hearing in January, neighbors of the proposed jail complex expressed bitter opposition, contending that the site was a disaster waiting to happen because it was in a Santa Clara River flood plain. The residents urged the board to find another site.

At a subsequent meeting, members of the Board of Supervisors unexpectedly suggested that they study whether the present jail at the County Government Center can be expanded.

The board will hear staff and public commentary on all aspects of the controversial project during the hearing, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. April 23.

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