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Local News

Goleta Council Keeps Development Projects On a Roll

An ice skating rink and Haskell's Landing receive support, but the city is facing a lawsuit from a homeowners association

Plans for projects that go back to Goleta’s inception inched forward Tuesday evening: an ice skating rink that was envisioned as part of the Camino Real Marketplace, and Haskell’s Landing, the third incarnation of a residential project in western Goleta.

The Greater Santa Barbara Ice Skating Association, a local nonprofit formed for the specific purpose of establishing an ice skating rink in Goleta, presented its plans to the council for a facility behind Home Depot and Girsh Park.

“I think this rink is a real gift to Goleta,” said Kathy Mintzer, president of the organization. The idea for the skating rink dates back to the construction of the Camino Real Marketplace in the late 1990s. Developer Mark Linehan agreed to provide the land for the facility, but development of the project has been slow.

Plans include a main rink and a junior rink to accommodate public skaters, practices and private events, as well as a snack shop. The organization has raised $3.9 million of its $8 million goal. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in 2011.

The GSBISA says the rink would provide much-needed recreation facilities in Goleta. While the City Council can’t yet legally cast a vote in support of the project, it directed its staff to put the matter on a future agenda.

Meanwhile, a more controversial project also moved forward, as the council reiterated its support for the development of Haskell’s Landing, a proposed 101-unit residential project.

It was a brief discussion by the Goleta City Council, but for the developer of Haskell’s Landing, it was the conclusion of years of effort.

“It’s been a long road,” developer Chuck Lande said shortly after the council affirmed its approval of plans, maps and General Plan amendments relative to the project.

Visions for a residential project at the site, on Hollister Avenue just north of Sandpiper Golf Course, go back to before the city’s incorporation. Plans for the 105-unit Aradon affordable housing project lapsed when the parcel was still in county territory, and the subsequent Residences at Sandpiper proposed right before cityhood was approved by the county but rejected by the new city of Goleta.

The project brings with it land and a contribution of funds for a fire station, a much-needed facility in the area. Up next is a review of the project by the California Coastal Commission. Approval of the project would lead to a dismissal of litigation pending between the developer and the city.

However, as the city looks forward to the dismissal of one case, another case has been launched against it. The homeowners association of the Rancho Mobile Home Park in western Goleta has served the city with a lawsuit because of its recent approval of a development plan presented by the park owners.

The mobile home park has been the center of fierce litigation between the Guggenheim family and the city, initially over the issue of rent control, a policy the city adopted from the county upon its inception. Rent control was in effect for the park during the days before incorporation, but when the city adopted the policy, the owner claimed it was a new ordinance, and therefore a violation of property rights.

The legal battle evolved to include fights over the requirement of an environmental impact report on a subdivision proposed by the owners for the park, the city’s implementation of an emergency moratorium on conversions pending state legislation, and damages related to the delays caused by both actions.

Approval of the development agreement leads to the dismissal of the litigation between the developer and the city, but now the mobile home park tenants feel the city is in the wrong for pushing forward a project they didn’t approve, according to city attorney Tim Giles.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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