Santa Barbara’s Measure Y would allow developer Mark Lee to use undeveloped public park land to build a bridge for his Veronica Meadows housing project, and supporters on Wednesday gathered on the City Halls steps to urge voters to vote yes in the June 5 election.
The 25-unit project has been approved by the City Council, but the project’s bridge, which would connect the development to Las Positas Road, across from Elings Park, would pass over undeveloped city parkland and therefore needs voter approval to be built.
The city is getting open space that it wouldn’t get any other way, Planning Commissioner Addison Thompson said, since Lee would designate 44 acres of the land next to the development as open space.
It’s an environmentally-beneficial project, Councilman Grant House added, saying the city’s creek funding “wouldn’t be sufficient to do restoration this robust.”
Other community leaders who support the project are: former Mayor Marty Blum; environmental advocate Kim Kimbell; neighbors Richard Galindo and Jeff Gorell; former councilman Dan Secord; former city planner Donald Olson; Planning Commissioner Bruce Bartlett; Parks Commissioner Scott Burns; neighborhood and environmental leader Lee Moldaver; Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce president Steve Cushman; architect Alex Pujo; and councilman Dale Francisco.
Lee will pay for the bridge construction, restoration of Arroyo Burro Creek and $78,000 in election costs himself. If the measure fails, Lee will have to look at alternative routes for a main access road, such as through the nearby neighborhood of Alan Road.
The No on Y ballot statements argue that the bridge would cause negative effects to the creek habitat, worsen traffic along Las Positas Road, and create taxpayer costs from maintaining and repairing the bridge and proposed bike/pedestrian pathway from Elings Park to Arroyo Burro Beach.