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UCSB Revises Dorm Project to Address Neighbor Concerns

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

UC Santa Barbara gave the Goleta City Council an update Tuesday night on the planned San Joaquin student housing project at Storke and El Colegio roads, which backs up against the Storke Ranch neighborhood.

Marc Fisher, vice chancellor of administrative services, said the project is still early in the design process but should move forward with planning and environmental approvals this fall before going to the California Coastal Commission.

Council members didn’t take any action on the project Tuesday night.

The housing is part of the university’s Long Range Development Plan, which was brought to the city in 2010. UCSB expects 5,000 more students by 2025, and it made a commitment that the campus would contain 50 percent of student housing so all additional growth is kept out of the community, Fisher said.

Almost 40 percent of students live on campus now, and housing more of the population there would mitigate the impacts of growth, he said. As of now, 168 apartments are proposed for the San Joaquin complex.

There would be six students per three-bedroom apartment, but the university is pushing cars for the project over to the existing San Clemente lot, which is usually at least half-empty, Fisher said.

He said plans for the dormitory complex have changed to address community concerns, particularly from people who live in the Storke Ranch neighborhood.

There was originally going to be a combination of three-, four-, five- and six-story buildings and a tall parking garage, but the revised plan features smaller buildings with all the common areas and student activity areas on the interior of the complex to minimize noise to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Fault lines running through the area also changed the plans, since there are certain spots the university can’t build on.

Neighbors are very concerned about noise, traffic and construction impacts on the area from the project. The buildings are planned for 35 to 50 feet away from the property line, and the project would have low vegetation closest to the Storke Ranch backyards with higher trees along the buildings to soften the visual impact, Fisher said.

Residents have been very outspoken against the project, and two people spoke up at the council meeting with their concerns about construction time, noise and the long-term impact of having 500 more people living right in their backyards.

The Sierra Madre Apartments, with 151 apartments and faculty housing, also will have all the public functions arranged on the interior of the complex. There will be one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, “very much like Willow Springs,” Fisher said.

Construction will start between nesting season and the rainy season, so most likely between August and October.

Fisher said the university isn’t looking to acquire any more property in the near future but it is negotiating to get the Cabrillo Business Park’s Mammoth Moving and Storage space.

Councilman Jim Farr thanked Fisher and UCSB for being “sensitive to the needs of Goleta.”

Mayor Roger Aceves said he hopes the university will work closely with the Storke Ranch Association every step of the way.

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.




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» on 05.23.13 @ 02:07 AM

I hope they work out a good deal with the neighbors so they’re both happy.  New development brings jobs.

» on 05.23.13 @ 12:26 PM

Oh, how I remember. I remember some 15 years ago how Goletans howled when the Storke Ranch development was approved.  “All those people crowding our under built streets”, were shouted at meetings. “The traffic, the noise the pollution”, wailed the public!

Now the same malcontent, whining, boisterous crybabies who inhabit that very development are screaming about the next one, next door.

Sorry Goleta, but after 40 years of listening to this shallow, me now, mine first, screw you I got mine, not in my back yard BS, enough is enough. Every time this damned campus tries to mitigate its unending pattern of growth this idiot community belly aches and snubs the mitigation and then endures the crap and corruption that follows.

For once I would like to see a premier campus do what it needs to do, in this case house its students on campus, rather than the wider community and not be hampered by the shallow selfish interests of people who made a poor choice in real estate.

That’s right Storke Ranch, you knew damned well when you bought there who your neighbors were. Can the BS, shut up and let UCSB do the right thing for a change.

» on 05.23.13 @ 01:32 PM

Couldn’t agree with you more AN50 - how’s that for a surprise?

» on 05.23.13 @ 02:06 PM

Not a surprise at all someguy. I have noticed you and I agree quite a bit on these subjects.

I do have one other gripe, though, I want the traffic engineers at the County and CoG to explain to me the logic, in engineering terms, that dictates the necessity of restricting traffic flow in and out of the campus/IV area to three lanes in either direction. That’s three 2 lane roads for a combined area of over 40,000 people intimately integrated to a community of nearly 45,000 people and part of a metropolitan area of over 200,000 people.

This is yet another effect of the attitude that if you make roads low capacity, it somehow makes the community seem “smaller” when in fact it contributes to gridlock, wasted fuel consumption and added pollution while making the community “feel” like LA.

Please, oh esteemed leaders of coercive policies, explain the logic.

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