Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 6:42 pm | Fair 73º


Local News

Santa Barbara Council Approves Putting Veronica Meadows Development Proposal on June Ballot

The 25-unit housing project needs a bridge built over Arroyo Burro Creek on city-owned park land, which requires voter approval

A key part of the Veronica Meadows development project will go before Santa Barbara voters on the June ballot.

Developer Mark Lee plans to build 25 houses off Las Positas Road, in the area across the street from Elings Park, and the access road needs a bridge built over Arroyo Burro Creek.

The private bridge requires voter approval since it would pass over city-owned park land, a judge determined in a lawsuit between Lee and the Citizens Planning Association.

The Santa Barbara City Council voted Tuesday to approve including the issue in the June 5 election. City Attorney Steve Wiley will write an impartial analysis to include in the sample ballot sent to voters, and Lee will reimburse the city for the $78,000 in election costs.

The “park” land is undeveloped, and the City Council has never voted to pursue making those 5.89 acres a park, but Wiley said it is zoned that way.

The City Council won’t submit arguments for or against the ballot measure, so it’s likely the arguments will be written by Lee and the community groups opposed to the measure, respectively.

This election is the last significant step in the 13-year process for Lee, according to his attorney, Steven Amerikaner. Lee will pay for the bridge construction and creek restoration, but Amerikaner said that if the ballot measure fails, they’ll have to consider alternatives such as going through the nearby neighborhood for the main access road.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Lee said his project “can’t be anything but a poster child for responsible development” with the amount of review required.

The Citizens Planning Association and the Urban Creeks Council have opposed the project, and attorney Marc Chytilo called placing the item on June’s ballot “deplorable” since there most likely will be a smaller voter turnout.

He said Tuesday that there’s a long-term cost for the city from maintaining the bridge and road since it will partly be on public land. He said the groups are likely to stay involved for forming ballot arguments and educating voters about the proposal.

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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >