Commissioners voted 4-1 to green light the project — a reincarnation of a former development that was never built but was approved by the Goleta City Council in February 2008 — and to recommend final approval when the project goes before the City Council in coming months.
Commissioner Terry Dressler cast the lone no vote, saying the environmental impact report did not examine all potential pollutants, just those related to causing cancer.
The 465-unit development is slated for construction on a vacant 40-plus-acre site located north and west of Los Carneros Road, just south of Highway 101.
Approval of the project, a final EIR and zoning changes to the city’s General Plan would replace the former project, which proposed just 275 units.
The Village at Los Carneros is billed as providing more workforce housing in Goleta, including a mix of single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes, town homes, condominium flats and apartments — 70 of which will be reserved as affordable housing.
Monday’s vote comes more than four years after CHA McKinley, Goleta LLC and Los Carneros Business Park LP filed an original application with the city to build the development, which will also include a neighborhood park, bike path, private recreation center, swimming pools, open space and more.
Staff presented results of the environmental review, and commissioners followed up with myriad questions about mitigated impacts, including traffic, air quality, noise, and biological and cultural resources.
Two new road connections would be built at Los Carneros Road, with a total of three access drives, according to planning and environmental review director Jennifer Carman, who noted a great deal of detail involving proximity of residences to the freeway and nearby creek beds.
Some of the five public speakers and commissioners expressed concern about the proposed 50-foot buffer between some of the building and creeks, but developers said minor changes could still be made before the project is presented to the council.
According to the city’s General Plan, officials could approve a buffer between 25 to 100 feet, although much of the project already adheres to a 100-foot standard.
Planning commissioners added another resolution asking council members to strive for a 100-foot buffer.