The Veronica Meadows residential housing project will be back before the Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday, when it will be asked to sign off on tighter environmental regulations for the project as suggested by a state oversight board.
The 25-unit project, located on the west side of Las Positas Road across from Elings Park, has been on the city’s radar for years.
In June 2008, the City Council adopted a local coastal plan and zoning ordinance amendments for the area. Later that summer, the city submitted the plan to the California Coastal Commission, because a portion of the site is in the coastal zone. Almost two years later, the CCC approved the city’s plan, but with nine suggested modifications.
The changes are more environmentally stringent and include a wider buffer to keep development further from Arroyo Burro Creek, which runs adjacent to the property. The changes mean the council would have to approve an ordinance adopting city zoning changes and modify the wording of the coastal plan.
Most of the project’s homes are 2,500 to 3,800 square feet and are two-story, single-family residences. The lot sizes of the development range from 5,000 to 9,600 square feet.
The project has a complex history. In 2008, the 51-acre area needed to be annexed to the city because it was formerly owned by the county. A lawsuit also posed a challenge for developer Mark Yee. A bridge that would provide access to all but three of the homes was the source of litigation between Lee and the Citizens Planning Association in 2007.
A judge ultimately ruled in favor of the Citizens Planning Association, stating that the developer would need to get voter approval to build it. Because the bridge would pass over a small strip of land designated as a city park, Lee must get voter approval to build the bridge or address access to the site without impacting the tiny park parcel.
“Even though the handling of this is unresolved, staff does not think it has any present bearing on the LCP amendment,” a staff report from the city stated.
Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara.