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Ventura Extends Moratorium on Group Care Homes 6 Months

October 15, 1987|JESSE KATZ | Times Staff Writer

The Ventura City Council voted unanimously Monday night to extend its moratorium on group-care homes for six months, pending approval of an ordinance regulating the facilities.

The moratorium was adopted in March after irate neighbors protested the opening of the Progress Foundation group-care home for the mentally ill on Poli Street. The facility, which was unlicensed at the time, suffered $5,000 in damage in a firebombing several months later. Police have made no arrests in the incident.

Officials for the Progress Foundation, which has since acquired a state license that exempts it from city regulations, asked the council not to extend the moratorium as an "act of good faith."

City Atty. Donald Greenberg, however, said that moratorium and the forthcoming permanent ordinance are aimed at a gap in the city's zoning regulations, which do not cover unlicensed group-care homes.

"It's not aimed at the Progress Foundation. It's not aimed at the mentally ill. It's aimed at a general category--group care," Greenberg said. "I think that's what some folks lose sight of."

The ordinance, which is still being drafted, will order all group-care homes without state licenses to abide by a series of city standards, including a program of regular maintenance, sufficient parking and the periodic presence of an owner on the premises, said Deputy City Atty. Ariel Calonne.

"We're happy that the city sees the need for an ordinance," said Grant Heil, spokesman for the Neighborhood Coalition for Supervised and Safe Half-Way Houses, which has opposed the Progress Foundation home.

"We're not having problems right now," he said. "But we will have them."

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