Friday, February 12 , 2016, 3:00 am | Fair 49º

Goleta Voters Approve Agricultural Land Initiative, TOT Measure; Easton, Farr Win Council Seats

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli | updated logo 11:30 p.m. |

Goleta voters overwhelmingly approved the Agricultural Land Protection Initiative in Tuesday’s election, receiving 71.05 percent voter approval of 9,566 votes cast.

The measure requires majority approval from voters before the city can redesignate certain agricultural parcels larger than 10 acres.

There are only six parcels within the city limits that apply, but about 120 parcels in Santa Barbara County are within the city’s planning area, so they could also be impacted.

The initiative was written by the Environmental Defense Center and advocated by the Goodland Coalition. 

Supporters argue that the General Plan is subject to the whim of future councils, and are primarily concerned with the 240-acre Bishop Ranch property where developers have tried to build large residential and commercial complexes. Opponents argue that the measure is unnecessary and interferes with the city’s existing planning process.

Concern over the Bishop Ranch project clearly remains for many, even after developer Michael Keston severed his agreement with the property owner in October, ending a contentious, years-long debate over the open space’s future.

The property owner, University Exchange Corp., is withdrawing all development-related applications for the property and has no immediate plans to pursue another project there. UEC owns 3,200 acres of ranch land in Santa Barbara County.

In other news, Goleta Mayor Ed Easton was re-elected Tuesday night, receiving 49.11 percent approval, and resident Jim Farr, 48.56 percent, won a seat on the City Council.

They were the only two candidates running for the two available seats, and the race appeared on the ballot only because of the city’s local initiatives. Resident Leslie Lund announced her write-in candidacy about two weeks ago, which most likely was too late for many absentee voters.

Goleta voters also approved a proposed bed tax increase, from 10 to 12 percent. The measure received 71.54 percent of the vote.

Buellton, Carpinteria and Solvang also had transient occupancy tax increases on their ballots, which also were passing handily. The increases raise the tax rates to the level that of the City of Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 11.07.12 @ 01:43 PM

Where are the rest of the Goleta results?

» on 11.07.12 @ 02:16 PM

Well once again the City of Goleta gets the HUH? award on the south coast.

Started as a fire wall against the County of SB willingness to allow urban development what did they do?  The first council elected reviewed and supported over 1,000 new units of housing in and around the Hollister corridor.  Later on they elected a fairly middle of the road council to stop this trend and then kicked out that group in favor of a Mayor and council that included one of the greatest pro-government planned development schemes O’Connel.

Now in their wisdom they allow Easton and Farr to run un-opposed because they are too busy to care about the Valley?  In recent statements Easton, before the election, touted the employment rate in the city yet failed to point out it was because of city projects (government streets and roads) and shopping centers and housing that is going to generate massive increases in traffic.  He also stated how the city would continue to destroy effective streets for utopian roundabouts, narrowing projects, and more to stop car use.  This is a catatonic approach .... for the residents not the Mayor.  Farr agrees with this approach to planning.

You put on the ballot restriction in property rights to “stop?” development and elect development runs wild councils.  How do you do that citizens of Goleta?

You are going to need more then luck in the future of the “Good? Land.”

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