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Goleta Council Votes to Proceed with Property Purchase for New City Hall

City will use $1.7 million already set aside to buy a vacant parcel on Cremona Drive

It has long been a goal of the City of Goleta to have a permanent City Hall, and now it’s closer than ever after the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to move ahead with a land purchase.

The city has leased the building at 130 Cremona Drive for years, but as of Tuesday, it’s moving ahead with a $1.7 million purchase agreement for the vacant parcel next door that sits just south of Los Carneros Road and directly east of where City Hall is now.

During the past nine months, the City Council has met in closed session to discuss price and terms for the purchase of the property. Money for the property had already been set aside in the general fund and through development impact fees.

That 2.43-acre parcel is part of a larger envelope that includes five other larger pieces of land. The land was originally slated for the now-defunct housing development the Villages at Los Carneros, put forward by developer Andrew Bermant. As a part of Bermant’s development agreement, he agreed to pay $400,000 to improve soccer fields at Girsh Park.

The Villages were never built, leaving the park to raise funds for the soccer fields through other sources, including a loan, on which it owes more than $200,000.

In the meantime, the property was purchased by another developer, Bob Comstock, who has submitted a new project on the parcels that has yet to be approved.

Because the property for City Hall was sold for below market value, which the city estimates to be about $2 million, Comstock would be relieved of the Girsh Park agreement.

In May, the Goleta Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend that the council approve the amendment.

During public comment Tuesday, Kim Schizas of Girsh Park said the group was very grateful for the agreement.

“Would it have been nice to have the money a long time ago? Yes,” she said, adding that it was happy to move forward.

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.

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