The California Coastal Commission gave the developers of the Haskell’s Landing project its much-awaited approval Thursday, opening the door to a 101-unit residential project near Goleta’s western outskirts.
The unanimous vote — on a motion by Commissioner Sara Wan — was brief, with compliments from the 12-member panel.
“The project is a boon to the city of Goleta and provides a plethora of public benefits,” Commissioner Dan Secord said.
If all goes smoothly for developer Chuck Lande, construction could begin as early as spring of next year.
Haskell’s Landing, at 7900 Hollister Ave., is a 14-acre triangular parcel of undeveloped land. It would become the site of 101 residential units consisting of 38 three-bedroom, single-family residences; four detached three-bedroom, single-family units; 34 two- to four-bedroom townhouse units; two detached two- and three-bedroom townhouse units; 17 one- to three-bedroom townhouse carriage units; and six studio units.
The latest plans for the project also include about 60 percent open space and enhancements to the riparian area along Devereux Creek, which bisects the property. About 10 of the units would be made affordable to moderate- and low-income individuals and families, with the in-lieu cost of another 10 units to be paid to the city.
Along with the development come commitments from the developer to financially support part of the city’s plans to build a fire station on a lot adjacent to the development, a facility that has been needed in the city for years.
Lande said in a presentation to the commission that the project is estimated to bring in $1 million in property taxes, of which $250,000 would go to the Goleta Union School District. In the five years of its development, 500 jobs would be created, according to Lande, and $4 million in construction-related fees would be paid.
No members of the public spoke out against the project.
“They’ve bent over backward to do everything they’ve been required to do, and the project is definitely needed,” resident Mickey Caughey said.
The smoothness of the proceedings at the commission’s Ventura meeting belied the contention that has surrounded development in this part of Goleta for years, even before incorporation. In the 1990s, it was called the Aradon project, a 105-unit residential plan that lapsed when the area was still Santa Barbara County territory. It subsequently became the Residences at Sandpiper, which was the subject of litigation between the developer, Oly Chadmar, and the newly formed city of Goleta.
The third incarnation of the project, Haskell’s Landing, had to jump through its fair share of hoops as well, particularly when it came down to the issue of creek setbacks. But in May 2009, the Goleta City Council unanimously approved the project, which also resulted in the removal of pending litigation against the city.