New Emergency Shelter Overlay Zone

The City of Ventura has developed zoning to allow for crisis housing with services in the Arundell District, located at Market Street and Telephone Road. Click on the link below to see final ordinance draft.

Zoning Ordinance and Map Amendment

In addition, a Negative Declaration was adopted by City Council. This environmental document (download Negative Declaration document HERE) analyzes a code amendment that would createa zoning overlay district (Emergency Shelter Overlay District) that will provide a location where emergency shelters, with full supportive services, can be established with a Conditional Use Permit. The overlay district would be placed on properties located south of H-101 in Arundell District in the M-1, M-2, and MPD zones as shown on the map, Figure 1. To implement the Project, various text and map amendments are proposed to the Zoning Ordinance including revisions to Definitions and Chapter 24.437-Emergency Shelter Regulations, as more fully described in the Project Information section of the Initial Study. There is no associated development project only legislative changes to the City’s Municipal Code and Zoning Map.

Emergency Shelter Overlay Map:


April 10, City Council Meeting

On April 10, 2017 City Council voted to approve the Emergency Shelter Zoning Ordinance and Map Amendment. 

December 7th, 2016 Public Meeting

The City of Ventura held a public meeting to discuss the proposed overlay zone for the Arundell District, located at Market Street and Telephone Road, on Wednesday, December 7, at 6pm at South Coast Fellowship Church, 4050 Market Street, Ventura. The purpose of the meeting was to work with property and business owners and the public to explore the feasibility of creating crisis housing in this area, identify any issues from the overlay and discuss the conditional use criteria and operational standards intended to mitigate the impact of this potential use in this existing zone.

Results of the meeting included a list of issues provided by attendees at the meeting, and the opportunity of the community to speak directly with city staff about their concerns over the zoning change.

Homeless Stakeholder Group

In July, 2016 City Council directed staff to form a stakeholder group consisting of representatives from Ventura County, Social Service Providers, Business leaders, Faith Based leaders and other community members. The stakeholder group meets once per month to discuss progress made and to provide guidance to city staff on developing crisis housing along the continuum of care.

July 11th, 2016 City Council Meeting

In July 2016 the Ventura City Council directed staff to explore amendments to zoning and regulation ordinances that would affect property within the Arundell District. City staff is expecting to bring recommended actions about the overlay zone to the Ventura Planning Commission in early 2017 and to the Ventura City Council in March 2017. Click HERE to download July 11th, 2016 staff report. Please click HERE to download the approved City Council meeting minutes from the meeting.

April 18th, 2016

On April 18th, 2016 the City of Ventura Hosted a Community Homeless Workshop. Ken Lee Consulting, LLC (KLC) was hired by the City to facilitate the community workshop.  In preparation for the workshop, KLC held a series of pre-workshop interviews with a variety of stakeholder interest groups, including representatives from the City, County, nonprofit service providers, faith-based organizations, business community, and other social service agencies and organizations.  In total, 35 stakeholders were interviewed individually or in groups to assist KLC in designing the format and content of the workshop.

Staff recommendations (as stated in the staff administrative report)  for the workshop were as follows:

It is recommended that the City Council:

a.      Conduct the Community Homelessness Workshop (see Attachment A -  Homeless Data Materials/Posters),

b.      Consider consensus items for follow up specific action by the City Council and other stakeholders; and

c.       Direct staff to return no later than the regular City Council meeting on June 13, 2016 to provide a status report on all workshop action items and to consider further City Council action.

With over 250 attendees at the workshop Council took action at the meeting directing staff to return to Council with additional information regarding changing zoning within the City for emergency shelters, subsidizing permits, and finally to present a synopsis of the workshop.

FAQ's related to proposed zoning

Q: There are 350 homeless individuals in Ventura. If a 55 bed shelter is built won’t we need 6 additional shelters for the remaining homeless individuals?
A: While it is entirely true that over time more shelters may be necessary, the number 55 is based on data collected at the Winter Warming Shelter related to the number of people from Ventura who utilized the shelter more than 75% of the time over a period of five years.

Q: Are you providing housing for families and single people or veterans only?
A: The operational program has not yet been written however it will not be a shelter for veterans only.

Q: Where is this housing going to be located?
A: No specific parcel/building/lot has been identified as of yet; should this zoning be adopted, the City expects a third party operator to identify a site and then would require the review and approval of a conditional use permit through a publicly noticed hearing before the City’s Planning Commission.

Q: Do the business owners in this area know of this plan?
A: It's unlikely that all of the business and/or property owners are aware of this proposed overlay zone as of December 2016. That said, city staff mailed 1700 notices to business and property owners in the area and will be working to ensure that the community is well-informed. It's important for everyone who wants to provide input has the opportunity to do so.

Q: What criterion qualifies an individual to live in the crisis home?
A: Our experience is that each individual has a story of their own; however it would be safe to say that anyone who presents themselves as not having anywhere to get shelter will be assessed by case managers to ensure that they get the care that they need. That said, there will be conditions and expectations for behavior and production related to any service that is provided.

Q: Will there be only one crisis facility located in the Arundell district, or could there be more than one facility?
A: City staff does not anticipate more than one shelter initially; however over time services could be expanded based on need.

Q: While the homeless issue does need to be addressed, an industrial area is not an appropriate place to offer temporary housing. Are there other areas where these needs can be met and not interfere with productive tax revenue generating businesses?
A: There is no ideal location in Ventura; however the manufacturing zone was assessed to be a less onerous area than other areas. It is absolutely the goal to create operational conditions and standards that mitigate the impact of this use in this zone.

Q: There is already a huge illegal camping and burglary problem here; will this facility only increase the problem?
A: While that is a huge concern, the intention is to create a private and public security system that reduces these issues in this area. It is also anticipated that with the location of a year round 24-hour/day shelter, those already impacting this area can be compelled to participate in the shelter and programs or be expected to leave the area.

Q: Safe sleep areas are important. Is the city utilizing underused spaces, parking lots?
A: The city Council homelessness and affordable housing subcommittee requested that staff take a look at this issue further in coordination with our partner the Salvation Army. Staff intends to bring back a recommendation after the first of the year.

Q: We need strong links to social service providers to be active in the field and outreach to those in need, how will this be addressed?
A: There is a direct link between successfully moving an individual out of homelessness and the services that are provided by private and public social service agencies. There will be strong support for social service programs from agencies located at the homeless facility.

Q: Will there be increased police presence in shelter areas?
A: A portion of the operational plan that must be approved by city staff will include an aggressive security plan in coordination with the Ventura Police Department.

Q: Will homeless be imported to this area?
A: The regulations being considered require the future operator to incorporate a preference for Ventura residents.

Q: Will daycare for the homeless included?
A: It is anticipated that day services will be offered at this facility. Those services could include, among other services, food, laundry, hygiene, drug and alcohol, mental health, mail, and life skills.

Q: Why would homeless individuals come to this area versus downtown where more services and parks and people are located?
A: There is no ideal location in Ventura, however the manufacturing zone was assessed to be a less onerous area than other areas; many homeless individuals are already in or near this area. The goal is that homeless individuals will pursue services and shelter and therefore will travel out of downtown  and other areas to receive services and shelter at the facility.

Q: What happens if someone tries to enter the shelter but is under the influence or drugs or alcohol?
A: The Operation and Management Plan will require any operator to consider this issue and have a plan to minimize the impact of this on the surrounding community; that will likely include a space within the facility for these folks to stay rather than being turned away.