VENTURA : State Support Sought for Veterans Home

The Ventura City Council will ask state officials to consider 22 acres on the city's eastside for a state-funded veterans nursing home.

Council members voted this week to send a letter inviting state officials to inspect the site, southeast of Telephone Road, between Saticoy Avenue and Wells Road.

If the officials like what they see, a 400-bed nursing home for veterans could be built, bringing up to 400 jobs to Ventura at no cost to the city.

The catch is that the city does not own the land in question--developer Eric Wittenberg does. He's willing to donate the land to the city, which in turn would donate it to the state. In exchange, Wittenberg wants the city's permission to build 439 homes on 33 adjoining acres.

Wittenberg seeks to build 50 homes in 1998, 50 homes in 1999, and the rest after the year 2000. That would mean allotting him nearly 10% of all the housing allocations available in Ventura through 1999.

"I think we need the jobs here," the Newport Beach-based builder told the council Monday.

Councilman Gregory L. Carson agreed.

"We're looking for jobs, for clean industry," Carson said. "In the past, we have blown some opportunities. I think we need to go before (the state officials) and be positive."

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