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Veterans Pick Farmland for Home

County veterans groups, thwarted in their attempts to secure a veterans nursing home, met Friday and again endorsed an agricultural site that could doom the city’s chances for the state project.

On a unanimous vote, local war veterans agreed to support a proposal by developer Rudy Contreras for a site on Olivas Park Drive, just outside the city limits. The city opposes the site because it is zoned for agricultural use.

The City Council wanted to build the home on 22 acres in east Ventura, but a local Chumash group opposes the site because it is near a Chumash burial ground. The Chumash, instead, support the Contreras proposal.

Faced with the internal split, a state task force decided in the fall that Ventura was too divided for the state to invest money in a facility there. The 400-bed facility would be paid for with state and federal funds, and would bring as many as 400 jobs to Ventura.

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Mayor Tom Buford said he was disappointed that the veterans again selected the Contreras site rather than supporting the city’s selection. “You’re talking about a piece of land that’s in very, very sensitive political habitat,” he said.

Roy Chambers, the Oxnard post commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said county veterans shied away from endorsing the city’s choice of site in part because Chumash opposition made the location too controversial.

“The main reason is that we didn’t want to go on an archeological site that could’ve been the graves of loved ones from the past--of Indians,” he said.


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