Category Archives: City News

VenturaWaterPure construction project marks a major step

VenturaWaterPure is off to a great start! Photos by Patricia Schallert

A cornerstone of Ventura’s forward-looking water investment portfolio, the VenturaWaterPure Program, takes an important step toward enhancing the City’s water supply resilience. This landmark project marks the City’s effort to secure its water future, positioning Ventura at the forefront of sustainable water management in the region.

The ocean outfall project will be used to dispose of concentrate generated by the future Advanced Water Purification Facility, which is projected to provide up to 20% of the City’s water supply when fully operational.

“In December 2011, the Ventura City Council voted on a settlement agreement with Heal the Bay and the Wishtoyo Foundation/Ventura Coastkeeper to preserve the Santa Clara River’s natural habitat,” shared Mayor Joe Schroeder. “The consent decree also requires a beneficial reuse of the water to align with the City’s long-term sustainability goals and commitment to responsible water management.”

Ventura Water General Manager Gina Dorrington highlighted the project’s substantial support from federal agencies, securing a $173 million loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and an additional $18 million in grant funding from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. “The project’s success is further underlined by unanimous approval from the California Coastal Commission, and the acquisition of all necessary permits showcases the City’s dedication to environmental responsibility and adherence to regulations,” she stated.

A thorough evaluation of potential sites was examined for the construction of the ocean outfall. Marina Park was identified as the optimal location and received a thorough Environmental Impact Report analysis. In addition, extensive community feedback directed additional mitigation measures consistent with construction activities for noise, dust, and vibration impacts. A dedicated construction management team is spearheading all mitigation efforts, and community members can leave a message at any time at 805-500-8103 for additional concerns, questions, or feedback.

Construction is anticipated to be completed by summer 2024. For additional information, frequently asked questions, reports, and updates on the VenturaWaterPure Ocean Outfall construction project, please visit

Prioritize preparedness: Your voice in emergency evacuation planning

by Darin Schindler Ventura Police Chief

As September unfolds, so does National Preparedness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of emergency planning and readiness. Ventura’s history bears witness to volatile wildfires and floods, making this month’s focus on preparedness all the more pertinent.

In our unwavering commitment to your safety and well-being, I am pleased to share that we’ve launched the Evacuation Preparedness Community Survey, a valuable opportunity for residents to actively shape how we respond to and recover from life-threatening emergencies.

Drawing on over 30 years of experience in law enforcement, and now as your Police Chief, I am acutely aware of the pivotal and critical role that effective emergency planning plays in preserving lives and minimizing the impact of crises. In collaboration with the City’s Emergency Services Manager, Mack Douglass, and our dedicated team of police officers and firefighters, we recognize the importance of nurturing a community that is well-informed and empowered to take decisive action during times of distress.

The Evacuation Preparedness Community Survey is a powerful tool that gives you a direct voice in refining Ventura’s evacuation plans, allocating essential resources, and guiding future educational initiatives. By participating in this 10-minute survey, available in both English and Spanish, you become a critical contributor to a more resilient Ventura. Your insights will provide us with valuable information to bolster existing evacuation strategies, identify areas for improvement, and ensure that our emergency plans are comprehensive and practical.

As we contemplate the ever-changing landscape of emergencies, your feedback will be instrumental in shaping our approach. The survey delves into critical aspects of evacuation preparedness, including your familiarity with evacuation routes, knowledge of emergency shelters, preferred transportation, favored communication methods for alerts and information, and overall readiness. Your responses will help us tailor our efforts to suit the needs and preferences of our diverse community.

It’s important to understand that emergency preparedness is not the sole responsibility of first responders; it’s a collaborative effort that demands active participation from each community member. Efficient evacuation routes are the backbone of a successful life-saving response. By participating in this survey, you also initiate essential conversations about preparedness with your family, further equipping yourselves to navigate challenges efficiently.

Your input will enable Ventura’s first responders to execute their duties precisely and confidently. In times of crisis, every second counts, ultimately saving lives and further protecting our community.

To access the Evacuation Preparedness Community Survey and learn more about this crucial initiative, please visit our website at

Remember – If we can predict it, we can prepare for it and respond better! Your participation is an investment in our shared safety, and we are grateful to serve a community that shares our commitment to preparedness.

Your voice matters in building a more resilient Ventura. Together, let’s ensure that our emergency preparedness is not just a plan on paper but a living testament to our collective commitment to each other’s safety.

City of Ventura grants three more commercial cannabis business permits

Following a thorough Phase IV reassessment, Interim City Manager Don Penman has granted approval to three additional recipients for commercial cannabis conditional permits. The three recipients are MOM Ventura, located at 3868 East Main Street; Shryne Ventura, located at 1860 S. Victoria Avenue; and Safeport, located at 5801 Valentine Road. 

Back in October 2022, the initial Phase IV process led to the conditional award of permits for three retail businesses: Responsible and Compliant Retail Ventura, situated at 1890 East Main Street; TAT Ventura, found at 2835 E Main Street; and ZASA, located at 4591 Market Street.

During the fall of 2022, the remaining five finalists submitted appeals. Subsequently, a settlement agreement was reached between the City and the appellants in July 2023. This paved the way for a partial Phase IV re-evaluation where the five appellants competed for three permits. As a result, the City Council passed a resolution increasing the permissible number of retail permits from five to six.

Businesses granted conditional permits will be subject to site inspections, conduct employee background checks, and obtain a business tax certificate and certificate of occupancy from the City before commencing operations. Upon establishment, the City will conduct ongoing inspections, audits, and monitoring to ensure compliance with local and state regulations. A collaborative effort among City staff, the Ventura Police Department, and state regulators will be employed to ensure community safety.

Additionally, stricter obligations apply to cannabis businesses, including adhering to an age restriction of 21 years or older (18 and above for medical patients), maintaining a minimum distance of 600 feet from elementary, middle, or high schools, and annual permit renewals. Non-compliance with the permit terms or the City’s ordinance may lead to permit revocation.

In November 2020, voters approved a ballot measure for cannabis taxation. On February 24, 2021, the City Council authorized the City Manager to provisionally grant up to five retail storefront or non-storefront cannabis permits and 10 industrial permits.

In April 2022, City staff and an external consulting group selected eight finalists using comprehensive criteria, such as business ownership, community compatibility, local benefits, investment plans, and proposed sites. A subsequent public meeting was held in July 2022 to gather community input on applicants and proposed locations.

The City will continue discussions with the California Coastal Commission regarding a potential Local Coastal Plan Amendment. This initiative is geared towards facilitating retail operations within the Coastal Zone. As part of this effort, the City Council will evaluate the feasibility of expanding authorized permits to include the possibility of retail locations within the Coastal Zone.  

Cannabis businesses are required to contribute to Ventura’s non-profit sector and generate between $600,000 to $700,000 in revenue to fund City services in the first full year of operation.

For more information on the City’s cannabis regulations or the application process, visit

Ventura Police launch a voluntary registration program for vulnerable populations

Ventura residents can now voluntarily register at-risk dependents with the Ventura Police Department, providing dispatchers and officers with critical information on individuals with special needs, diagnoses, or circumstances before an emergency situation.

The voluntary registration program is for at-risk individuals and requires personal information like name, date of birth, physical attributes, known disabilities or illnesses, a current photo, and emergency contact information.

“Voluntary information provided to our team before a dire situation can expedite the search for a wandering individual by reducing the amount of information collection needed after an initial call for service,” said Police Chief Darin Schindler. “The information also further assists officers by preparing them to appropriately contact and address that individual once they’ve been located. It’s a win-win.”

At-risk dependents and families that may find this program helpful are those with a loved one with Autism, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Down Syndrome, mental illness, blind or low vision, and developmental or intellectual disabilities.

“We are grateful to Ventura PD for their ongoing partnership and dedication to keeping our at-risk residents safe, including those with Autism,” said Ashley Pope, President of the Autism Society Ventura County. “The success of this program largely hinges on active participation and registration of eligible individuals, as emergencies can strike unexpectedly. Register now for this vital program, as it has the potential to inspire safer, more inclusive approaches across first responder sectors.”

All information submitted will be secured on an internal server. Updated personal information, changes to physical appearance, and diagnosis shifts should prompt family members to re-submit and update dependent information.

For more information about this program, please visit

General Manager’s Message

Midtown to Westside Interconnect construction underway on Telegraph Rd.

Ventura, thank you for your patience. As the City moves to advance its water resources, we are going to experience some growing pains. Ventura Water wants to thank the communities who will be impacted by the two critical water infrastructure projects we have underway concurrently. We understand the inconveniences these bring to everyday life, but at the end of this temporary construction the City will be closer to a sustainable water supply and the ability to maximize water use efficiency throughout the City.

The Midtown to Westside Interconnect project will impact traffic in the area along Telegraph Road, between Hill Road and Mills Road. See more information here. Traveling through this area will take additional time and planning. Please use caution and defensive driving to protect our neighbors and workers along the road.

The VenturaWaterPure Ocean Outfall project will begin construction at Marina Park and along Anchors Way. Ventura Water wants to thank the communities and businesses in the Pierpont and Ventura Harbor areas for having open dialog and constructive workshops to mitigate impacts on the community. While a portion of Marina Park will be walled off during construction, the park will remain open and the sailing center will be accessible. The City has established a hotline to report any issues and to ask questions about the project. Your message will be logged, and someone will call back same day. You can reach the Outfall Project Message Center at (805) 500-8103,

Please continue to support our communities and businesses in these areas during the construction periods. They are contributing to Ventura’s water future firsthand, and we can show our appreciation by visiting these areas patiently and safely. Be sure to visit our website for updates and to see the progress we’re making.


Gina Dorrington

City of Ventura names William “Bill” Ayub as the new City Manager

Ayub’s career began in 1985 as a police cadet and reserve police officer.

The City of Ventura is pleased to announce the appointment of William “Bill” Ayub as the new City Manager, effective August 8, 2023. With a diverse and extensive law enforcement background and a strong commitment to public service, Ayub brings a wealth of experience and leadership to his new role.

Ayub brings over 37 years of progressively responsible law enforcement experience, including nearly 15 years in management, most of which was with the County of Ventura. He served as the Sheriff of Ventura County for over four years until his retirement in January 2023.

“We are thrilled to welcome Bill Ayub as our new City Manager. His exceptional track record of collaborative leadership and dedication to uplifting the community fit perfectly with our city’s values,” said Mayor Joe Schroeder. “We are confident that he will lead with integrity, foster positive connections in our community, and provide a visionary direction that will propel Ventura towards an exciting and prosperous future.”

Ayub’s career began in 1985 as a police cadet and reserve police officer with the Santa Paula Police Department. Over the years, he has held various positions, including serving as a police officer in the City of North Las Vegas, Nevada, and the City of Port Hueneme before joining the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office in 1996.

“I am honored and excited to take on the role of City Manager for the City of Ventura,” said William Ayub, a long-time Ventura resident. “Serving in the city I call home means a great deal to me. I look forward to working alongside the talented team here to build on Ventura’s strengths, tackle challenges, and uplift our residents’ overall quality of life while promoting a culture of collaboration and responsiveness.”

Apart from his professional achievements, Ayub has a long history of volunteerism, including supporting little league as an assistant coach and serving on the board of directors. He has also been an active member of the Ventura Sheriff K9 Foundation and remains involved with organizations such as the Southern California Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics and the Board of Directors for Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families.

Ayub holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the California State University at Northridge, a Master of Science in Emergency Services Administration from the California State University at Long Beach, and an Associate of Science in Administration of Justice from Ventura Community College.

As the City Manager, Ayub will earn a base salary of $280,000, and his total compensation with benefits will be $351,130.

Ventura Police and Fire Departments partner to host community block party

Come meet a K9.

Ventura residents are invited to join the Ventura Police and Fire Departments for the Public Safety Community Block Party from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, 2023. This free event, hosted at the Police and Fire Headquarters at 1425 Dowell Drive, is open to the public and promises an afternoon filled with unique family-friendly activities.

“We received tremendous feedback after last year’s event and are excited to offer an inclusive space to foster positive relationships with local police officers, firefighters, and elected officials,” said Police Chief Darin Schindler. “By inviting residents into a traditionally very private facility, we hope to demystify police operations and improve trust.”

Activities at the public safety event will feature multiple K9 demonstrations, a Jaws of Life vehicle extrication, a fire extinguisher game, a hands-on CSI experience, a kid’s firefighter challenge course, child fingerprinting, station tours, coloring contests, face painting, trivia, and more.

Residents and children will also enjoy exploring patrol cars, motorcycles, fire engines, the SWAT rescue vehicle, a search and rescue helicopter, and various emergency response vehicles. Participants will learn about different safety topics and experience interactive games and demonstrations.

“This event allows us to showcase the equipment and skills we utilize daily to keep our community safe,” said Fire Chief David Endaya. “We want to empower residents with knowledge to prevent emergencies and know how to respond. Activities offered will prioritize fire prevention and personal safety, so community members of all ages leave with valuable takeaways.”

At the block party, snacks will be provided, and an array of local food trucks will provide meals available for purchase.

To learn more about the Public Safety Community Block Party, visit

This event is funded by the Ventura Police Community Foundation. Learn more about the local nonprofit at

City of Ventura earns national award for Public Works Project of the Year

Eric Berg, Principal, Pacific Coast Land Design; Stacey Zarazua, Parks Manager, City of Ventura; Phil Nelson, Public Works Director, City of Ventura; Buddy Jones, Construction Inspector, City of Ventura

The American Public Works Association (APWA) is proud to announce the City of Ventura has won APWA’s 2023 Public Works Project of the Year Award. Award winners publicly developed, owned, and maintained infrastructure projects that promote excellence in construction management and administration.

“Built in 1961, Arroyo Verde Park spans 129 acres of open space and features a large turf field area, playground, picnic area, hiking trails, and more. In 2017, the Arroyo Verde Park’s main play structure was destroyed in the Thomas Fire,” shared Public Works Director Phil Nelson. “Rather than simply rebuilding the former structure, our Parks Department sought to reimagine the space to make it the City’s first inclusive play area for children of all abilities.”

Primary playground features include structures offering social and play designs using movement and ability, uses topography as a natural playground, offers an open-ended sensory experience, music areas, native landscapes, and more.The American Public Works Association is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 30,000 members involved in the field of public works. The City of Ventura earned APWA’s 2023 Public Works Project of the Year Award in the Structures category, in the less an $5 million division. The recent July edition of the APWA Reporter, shared highlights of award winners across the nation including the Arroyo Verde Park Inclusive Playground Rebuild.

“Each year APWA receives hundreds of entries for our Project of the Year Awards. It’s always a challenging process to select the winners as so many worthy projects are submitted. The Project of the Year Awards highlights the best projects that showcase amazing collaborative efforts and vision. Congratulations to this year’s winners!” said APWA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Scott D. Grayson, CAE.

An awards and recognition ceremony will take place during the APWA Public Works Expo on Monday, August 28, in San Diego. APWA will recognize this year’s Project of the Year Award winners in a video posted to on August 30.


Ventura’s Active Transportation Plan reaches the final phase

The City of Ventura is excited to announce the final phase of the Active Transportation Plan (ATP). This comprehensive roadmap aims to enhance the City’s transportation landscape, providing increased accessibility and appeal for walking, biking, and transit across the community.

The City is seeking public input to prioritize projects and programs proposed in the ATP. To review and share your information, please visit the City’s website. The deadline for providing feedback is Sunday, August 20.

“In the last two years, we’ve seen active involvement from more than 4,000 community members who played a vital role in shaping the proposed Active Transportation Plan recommendations,” stated Mayor Joe Schroeder. “As we move into the next phase, we invite all community members to provide feedback on the identified priorities and projects created to establish a safer and more sustainable active transportation system for Ventura.”

In June 2021, this community-driven initiative gained significant engagement, with input from the Active Transportation Focus Group (ATFG), which provided valuable insight into City needs, shaped plan goals, and amplified outreach efforts. This group comprised various stakeholders from the City’s Public Works Department, Police Department, Environmental Sustainability Department, Community Outreach, Bicycle Advisory Committee, all seven Community Councils, and Bike Ventura. Additionally, the City of Ventura has been actively engaged with the Ventura Unified School District to update the city’s Safe Routes to School Plan. This collaboration further ensures the safety and accessibility of walking and biking routes for students and families in the community.

Throughout the planning process, the City has been dedicated to engaging with diverse groups, including low-income and minority households, homebound seniors, youth, young parents, and individuals with direct experience in walking and biking in Ventura. This inclusive approach has allowed the plan to address the unique needs of all community members.

“The City of Ventura invites residents to share their diverse perspectives to ensure the Active Transportation Plan reflects the community’s needs.

Whether you choose to participate online or in person, your input will play a crucial role in shaping a safer and better use for all road users,” stated Public Works Director Phil Nelson.

For more information and to submit your feedback, please visit

Ventura Water General Manager’s Message

During this past school year we hosted over 300 students from local public and private schools.

by Gina Dorrington

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a child, we get asked this question all the time and as we get older, we use this question to start a conversation with a child. Not many, if any, say “I want to be a water/wastewater operator when I grow up!”, but they should. A career in water is awesome and rewarding. We get to work outside, provide water for health and safety, protect the environment, and restore a critical resource to the community. And there is so much you can do; I started in this industry working in a water and wastewater lab, then performed food facility inspections for stormwater and grease compliance, moved on to cleaning and inspecting sewer lines, became an operator-in-training, and earned certification in water treatment, distribution, wastewater, and advanced treatment. This month we highlight one of our operators, Sol Clements, who has also worked in many areas of the wastewater industry and radiates her love of what she does for our city.

At Ventura Water we love to share what we do and help to spark interest in our youth about water. We highlight not only how water is treated and how important conservation is, but also how this could be a career for them. Our team works with local schools and environmental groups to outreach and educate. We’re proud to report that during this past school year we hosted over 300 students from local public and private schools for tours of the wastewater treatment plant, (see photo above). If your group is interested in a tour, please email us at: [email protected].

And if you, or someone you know may be interested in a career in water, see the current jobs at the City website.