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Local News

Downtown Santa Barbara Parking Lots No Longer in Danger from State

Assemblyman Das Williams spearheads changes to a trailer bill that would have forced the city to sell nine of its lots within RDA boundaries

After a scare that the City of Santa Barbara would lose a good portion of its downtown parking lots to the state, Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, said Thursday that the state is no longer considering forcing the city to sell those assets.

The state made a move to dissolve local redevelopment agencies last year, and a May revision of a budget trailer bill introduced language that would force the city to sell its parking lots within redevelopment agency boundaries.

That trailer bill would have affected nine parking lots downtown, including The Granada garage and the lot surrounding the Amtrak Depot at 209 State St.

Williams said he brought up the trailer bill to the Democratic Caucus last week, and “expressed what damage it would do to downtown Santa Barbara and possibly Ventura as well.”

He said he and his colleagues encouraged the negotiations between the caucus and Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.

“It could have put a lot of those parking in private hands, which would have cost a lot more,” he said.

Williams said he received confirmation from the Department of Finance on Wednesday, and that the final language of the bill was expected to be issued sometime Thursday.

The city had argued that the lots fell under government use, which would exclude them from being sold.

Mayor Helene Schneider, who sent letters to elected officials like Williams opposing the move, said Thursday she was relieved to hear the language would be amended, adding she was grateful to Williams for working on the city’s behalf.

“The sale of these garages to the highest bidder would have created extreme negative impacts on our local economy and the downtown business climate,” she said.

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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