Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 12:13 pm | Fair 62º


Santa Barbara Council Finds Consensus, But Challenges Loom for City’s General Plan

Tuesday's meeting focused on elements involving issues such as open space and public safety, with bigger discussions await beginning next week

The Santa Barbara City Council continued to wrestle Tuesday with its blueprint for the future, even though it won’t deal with the General Plan’s most controversial elements until the fall.

Land use, housing and circulation will be reviewed Sept. 8 and promise to be challenging topics on which to reach consensus.

Tuesday’s meeting garnered plenty of discussion as well before the council gave its consensus to approve the amendments to elements on open space and recreation, environmental resources, economy and fiscal health, and public services and safety.

An ad hoc subcommittee, made up of Councilmen Frank Hotchkiss, Dale Francisco and Bendy White, has been working on the amendments since last fall and has met 15 times to come up with the changes.

Much of that conversation has revolved around residential densities and design policies, and the subcommittee accepted an offer from the American Institute of Architects to showcase a design charrette to the public, which illustrated what the new densities would look like.

Those models were shown to the public on July 16 and last Saturday, and the results of that showcase will be presented to the City Council on Aug. 2.

Discussion on highway setbacks and a requirement that nonresidential developments install facilities for electric fleets were all part of the amendments discussed Tuesday.

A handful of public speakers weighed in on the changes.

“I come to plead that you look at this document as a plan for the future,” Mickey Flacks said. “I am afraid sometimes that you look at it with the lens of today and sometimes even yesterday, and that defeats the whole point.”

Among the changes she noted was the requirement that nonresidential developments install facilities for electric fleets. Electric vehicles are the future, she said, encouraging the City Council to embrace the charging stations.

Sheila Lodge said she was concerned about requiring solar panels in historic zones.

“I think it should be left as it is, on a case by case basis,” she said. Solar panels were permitted on the new mixed-use project slated for the former Vons lot at Victoria and Chapala streets, “so it can be done,” she said, adding that it shouldn’t be a General Plan requirement.

Other concerns raised by the public included the protection of a dune area habitat near East Beach, as well as the 250-foot highway setbacks called for in the amendments.

Francisco, a member of the subcommittee, said the group worked to find compromise.

“We literally have gone through every piece of this,” he said, noting that the public added a lot to the discussion.

That there is much discussion to come wasn’t lost on White.

“Obviously we’ve set aside the biggest issues,” he said, adding that Tuesday’s issues were “peripherals.”

The next meeting on the issue will take place Aug. 2, when the council will receive a report on the design charrettes from city staff.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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 using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, 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
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

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.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • 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 >