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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 11:45 am | Fair 63º


City Council to Delve Into Details of Plan Santa Barbara

Two sessions are planned Tuesday to review the city's General Plan update documents

The future of Santa Barbara’s transportation policies will be put under a microscope Tuesday as the City Council reviews General Plan update documents.

After a morning session discussing the massive environmental impact report, council members will delve into travel demand management, which looks at strategies such as parking prices and reducing commuting to influence traffic congestion.

“Decision makers will need to determine the appropriate balance between the amount and type of land-use growth, the location of growth, the level of transportation demand management implementation and acceptable future congestion levels,” according to the staff report. Naturally, downtown business owners and other stakeholders hold an interest in any changes to downtown parking pricing or other transportation-related policies.

Tuesday’s work sessions will be from 9 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara.

While the morning session will be based on background information regarding the EIR, the more detailed afternoon session promises to be more “substantive and interesting,” community development director Paul Casey said.

Of Plan Santa Barbara’s different issues, only the housing element is legally mandated to be updated, while the rest are reviewed every 20 years. However, the land-use element and environmental impact report must be done at the same time in order to adopt it.

The city’s General Plan has never been fully updated since 1964, though it’s been significantly amended.

While the housing element was due last August, there’s an understanding with the state since Santa Barbara is doing a complete update, Casey said. The updating process started in 2005, with a year off for the Upper State Street planning project, and still needs documents to be finalized and reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council before adoption.

Next week, the council will tackle Measure E, the development plan ordinance. Measure E deals with the amount of commercial growth allowed over a 20-year period, and it expired last year but has been extended through an ordinance, Casey said.

The Planning Commission recommended a hybrid approach for growth, including mitigation of environmental impacts, realistic implementation and stimulating economic vitality. It also suggested limiting future nonresidential growth to 1 million square feet over the next 20 years.

Casey said that ater final documents are approved by the Planning Commission and council, priorities will need to be made for implementation.

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

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