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Goleta Planners Postpone Decision on Condo Project

The Planning Commission hopes a better design will help solve issues with the Citrus Village project on west Calle Real.

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The Goleta Planning Commission on Monday evening voted to put off its decision on a residential project in western Goleta in the hope that a better design could solve some issues that cropped up at Monday evening’s public hearing.

Citrus Village is planned as a California Craftsman-style complex of three-bedroom courtyard condominiums in western Goleta, with buildings facing one another over a long road that also would function as a driveway, running from the complex’s entrance off Calle Real to the back of the property.

The project has been in the city’s planning process for about four years. Before that, it was a proposed all-low-income housing project by the county that failed for lack of funding. It has since morphed into a planned 11-unit, privately owned complex, which was taken down to nine units, all at market rate.

Despite the massaging of the project between the city’s planning department and the project’s designers, which resulted in a floor area ratio above what is considered the standard for residential projects in the city, in-lieu fees instead of the city’s affordable housing inclusionary rate, but also 40 percent common open space on a lot that’s just a shade smaller than one acre, the commissioners Monday night were not comfortable enough with the project to push it through.

“This project sets up conflict in the community,” Commissioner Julie Solomon said. One aspect she pointed out was the plan for a “tot lot” closest to a bar on the other side of the property line.

While the panel praised the project’s courtyard design for the use of common space to drive in and out of their homes, the commissioners were not convinced that cars backing out of their garages into the 27-foot-wide common road/driveway would not back into each other or another car passing through.

Meanwhile, members of the public criticized the project for its siting near Highway 101 and the air pollution from the freeway, lack of parking, as well as the modifications needed to push the project through, although several modifications are required because there is no standard in the city for courtyard-type projects.

The city and the applicant, architect Detlev Peikert, representing an entity called 7388 Calle Real LLC, agreed on a two-week continuation that could allow for a redesign. City planners and the project’s proponents will meet again Sept. 8 for a workshop to determine the viability and feasibility of the project. If the Planning Commission denies the project, the applicants may file an appeal to the City Council.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at [email protected]

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