Wednesday, February 10 , 2016, 3:27 pm | Fair 77º

Goleta Resident Sues City, Developer Over Westar Project

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

Westar Associates’ proposed mixed-use project, slated to go in across from the Camino Real Marketplace, would include 274 residential units, 19 one-, two- and three-story buildings, pocket parks, open space, stores and restaurants.
Westar Associates’ proposed mixed-use project, slated to go in across from the Camino Real Marketplace, would include 274 residential units, 19 one-, two- and three-story buildings, pocket parks, open space, stores and restaurants.  (Westar Associates rendering)

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.


» on 11.16.12 @ 09:22 AM

Thank You Patricia! What are they thinking approving all these projects! Save our city!

» on 11.16.12 @ 12:04 PM

Hello Patricia Moreno,

While I don’t necessarily agree with your position, I am impressed with your tenacity. It warms my heart to see a citizen like you actually do something.

Most, including myself, at times, sit by and watch as rights are “taken” away. You have stood up for what you believe. Kudos!!

I’ll be watching to see where this goes.

Thank you.

» on 11.16.12 @ 12:27 PM

OMG, this woman needs to get a real life. My dear, when my taxes go up because the city has to defend this lunatic law suit we, the city’s taxpayers, are coming after you for payment.

People this is another example of the lunacy that runs rampant in this town. Growth, the kind that started these types of anti building campaigns ended 4 decades ago. Now with nothing better to do than sit around twitching these descendants of the rabble rousers, nit pick every damned thing that pops up, whether its you deciding to paint your house a different color add a room in the back or some puny development like Westar.

What this hysterical woman should be suing the city for is the project to subtract capacity on Hollister Avenue immediately to the west of the project. Now that would have some merit. That project will force more traffic to be funneled through the already over used Storke interchange. You see folks your city believes in this lunatic idea that making traffic as bad as it is in LA will encourage you to use public transportation. For you lawyers out there the word is coercion, which is illegal for a government to use.

But what is really perverse about the whole idea is it actually makes your town as bad as LA with out any growth at all which is why this hysterical lunatic is suing the city to begin with. Good grief, I wish they would stop putting LSD in the water here.

» on 11.16.12 @ 01:25 PM

The approval process of such projects tends to be rather technical, and if there was a technical error in how the project was approved, then complain about he incompetence of the approving bodies.  If the problem is just discontent over the project impacts, then local politics, rather than a judge, will decide the matter.  The cost of administrative incompetence is not a trivial thing.

» on 11.16.12 @ 01:41 PM

Surprise, surprise.  Historical “enjoyment” of a view over someone else’s property does not mean it’s yours forever.  And progress, apparently, is only progress if I decide it is.

Serioulsly, get a life.  Those of us who live in the area might want something other than a poor excuse for an Albertsons to shop at, rather than driving across town to Vons.

Sound like a trip reduction?  You betcha.  Think of that while you were filing your law suit?  Probably not.

» on 11.16.12 @ 02:34 PM

Good for you,  Patricia.  Far too many developments gain approval when they should have been more seriously scrutinized.  This 274-unit project is far too intense a use of this property.  I,  for one,  hope you are able to stop this monstrosity dead in its tracks.

Goleta needs to be a heck of a lot more protective of its land,  rather than just giving it away.  Too bad every single inch of land is seen as a windfall of cash for some out-of-town moneybags developer.

» on 11.16.12 @ 03:55 PM

Permitting more development along the Goleta Valley is not a sound idea, either economically or generally, re. quality of life. The infrastructure just cannot handle the extra traffic - the 101 is already assuming the worst that LA can offer… gridlock and an annual accumulated tens of thousands of man-hours, people sat in stalled traffic, using up precious energy resources and creating extra pollution. Then, there’s the overriding issue of all that wasted precious time - where people are now having to endure a daily prison sentence -  incarcerated in the jail of the commute.

» on 11.16.12 @ 04:15 PM

More serious scrutiny?!! My God I watched this city grill some poor home owner over what type of light fixture he was putting on his friggen back patio!!! More scrutiny my rear. As for every single inch being a wind fall for developers, what in blazes are you talking about! You have more than ¾ of all the vacant land left in the city tied up as ag preserve or open space, are you friggen insane?

This is a mixed use project, the very kind of development you numb nuts said you wanted in this type of location when you were passing your selves off as urban designer know-it-alls at the General Plan scoping meetings. Its on friggen Hollister THE commercial arterial in the valley and adjacent to the rail road, what in blazes do you think ought to be built there, another dopy open space?

Fine buy the damned thing with your own money and make a park. But stop whining about development you chose to have, actually being built, you fruit loops.

What you people, yes you whiny, malcontent, meddling, nay sayers need to do is get a friggen life. 40 years of hearing this same stupid “evil Orange County developer” crap is enough. You have frozen our city into some half done hodge podge mish mash with this incessant whining. Now that no real major development can ever be built here you meddling nut cases go after anything that pops up.  Good grief!

» on 11.16.12 @ 08:23 PM

NIMBYs should only be allowed one challenge per region per year in my opinion.

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