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Goleta Resident Sues City, Developer Over Westar Project

Opponent Patricia Moreno files a lawsuit challenging approval of the proposed mixed-use development

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

Patricia Moreno, a vocal opponent of the Westar Mixed Use Project in Goleta, has filed a lawsuit challenging the City Council’s Oct. 2 decision to approve the project.

The Westar Project, first proposed in 2008, would have 274 residential units in addition to parks, stores and restaurants on the land on Hollister Avenue between Glen Annie Road and Santa Felicia Drive.

Moreno filed the lawsuit Nov. 1 against the City of Goleta and the City Council, with Goleta Hollister LLC — the Westar developer — named as the real party of interest.

“It’s a challenge to the project’s approval, and to the California Environmental Quality Act document that was adopted,” Goleta City Attorney Tim Giles said Thursday. “They don’t feel that the city complied with the (CEQA) law, so they’re seeking for the city to redo the hearing in compliance with the law. The petition is not terribly specific as to what they think the defect was.”

The project got its approval and entitlements from the City Council in October, but it still has a few “processing things” to go through before the developer can start construction, Giles added. Since the lawsuit names the developer as a party of interest, they will be largely involved in the litigation along with the city, he said.

Moreno asks for a temporary restraining order and injunctions to stop the city and Goleta Hollister LLC from proceeding with the project.

The petition claims that the final environmental impact report is “incomplete and misleading,” and doesn’t evaluate alternatives or reasonable mitigation measures that could lessen environmental impacts of the project.

“Development of the project will irreparably harm the environment in [sic] that will damage aesthetics, air quality, increase traffic, increase noise, increase lighting, increase congestion and interfere with the neighboring property owners [sic] use and enjoyment of their properties,” the petition reads.

Moreno asks for all project activity to be stopped until the Westar Mixed Use Project is compliant with CEQA, and a new EIR be prepared and circulated.

In public comments at meetings and a letter to the editor to Noozhawk in September, Moreno urged the city not to approve it. She and other homeowners near the project site are worried about traffic and other impacts from the development.

Moreno convinced her neighbor, Leslie Lund, to run as a write-in candidate for the Goleta City Council in an effort to undo the Westar Project approval.

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.

Westar




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