Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 3:14 am | Overcast 65º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Santa Barbara Councilmen Call for Public Hearing on Narrowing of State Street

Randy Rowse and Dale Francisco say they don't want to delay the La Entrada hotel project, but to give residents a say about the related traffic changes

Two members of the Santa Barbara City Council with concerns about narrowing Lower State Street to two lanes have asked for a public hearing on the issue.

State Street would be narrowed from four lanes to two for sidewalk improvements surrounding the La Entrada hotel project planned around the intersection of State and Mason streets.

Councilmen Randy Rowse and Dale Francisco have asked for a public hearing not on the hotel project, but on the changes to the roadway.

Rowse said they don’t want to delay the project, or be “obstructionist,” but they want to give people a chance to speak publicly about the traffic changes.

“A lot of people are pretty upset,” he told Noozhawk on Friday.

The original La Entrada project was approved in 2001 under the helm of developer Bill Levy, who eventually filed for bankruptcy and walked away from the project. Since then, the project has changed hands to multiple owners, and now Los Angeles developer Michael Rosenfeld is moving forward. City officials must sign off on whether Rosenfeld’s new plans “substantially conform” with Levy’s originally permitted project.

Some of the biggest changes have come from removing the nine timeshare units planned for the project, and increasing the number of rooms to 123 from 114. There also has been an increase in the amount of commercial space included in the project, among other changes.

The Santa Barbara Planning Commission agreed Thursday that the plans substantially conformed to the original project, but La Entrada must go back to the Historic Landmarks Commission and City Administrator Jim Armstrong, who will ultimately decide whether the project substantially conforms.

Although the narrowing of State Street for sidewalk improvements was part of the original plan, Rowse said he wanted to have a hearing so people could speak about the changes.

North of Highway 101, he said, Chapala and Santa Barbara streets help ease State Street’s traffic volume. But south of the freeway, “it’s going to be really hard to get off of Cabrillo onto State Street,” Rowse said.

It’s not only the project that’s changed, he said, but the area around the site.

“All of that Funk Zone activity wasn’t there,” he said. “You would never design it from scratch today knowing what you know.”

Rowse said he would like to see Rosenfeld begin building the hotel, but do street improvements last.

“Maybe people don’t want it to be four lanes, but that’s what we’ll find out,” Rowse said. “I am worried about waking up and saying, ‘I sure wish we hadn’t approved that.’”

Rowse and Francisco have asked Armstrong for a public hearing, which has been scheduled for 6 p.m. April 16 in the council chambers at City Hall.

“We don’t have a plan,” Rowse said, “We just want to have a hearing.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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 >