Do you need to OWN your own kitchen?
Can you rent time and space in a commercial kitchen?
Yes. The mult-use restrictions mean the kitchen can't be used for purposes other than preparing food commercially. For instance, you can't rent time in a church kitchen, or for that matter in a stable.
Is there anyone in Ventura who can help you figure out what to do?
Almost certainly. You need to find a "consultant" who can at least point you in the right direction. There are several public agencies and private organizations who can probably recommend a mentor with experience in food -- probably even in small wholesale.
Check with the people renting commercial kitchen space. If they don't have answers for you, many of their other clients will.
Ask restaurant owners. They went through a similar proces themselves. Remember, you're not even asking for them to put you in touch with the right person. All you need is a phone number which will get you in touch with someone who provide the right phone numbers.
Check with the SBA (Small Business Administration). They used to have mentoring programs, I'm not sure if they still do. There are a lot of retirees who want nothing more than to help (and stick their noses in your business, of course).
When I set up a small business 20 years ago (inventing, manufacturing and wholesaling a few strange gimmicks) I got a little mentoring and a lot of rolodex help from a guy I found through Jewish Family Services.
Fear not -- after you've got one or two phone numbers it gets a lot easier. Still easier with a mentor.
Don't be too surprised about not being able to get answers from the County Health Department. The food sections of County Health Department very often represent government at it's most inconsistent and most opaque. Very often, you can't even get good answers from them when they're in your kitchen inspecting -- or at least not consistent answers which actually conform to the code.
Good luck with them. And good luck with the whole project.
Hope this helps,