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Local News

Bill Macfadyen: After 2 Rescued from Highway 154 Rollover, Driver Arrested on DUI Charge

NoozWeek’s Top 5 is waiting on a vegan, checks into a vacation rental case, asks Randy Alcorn’s opinion about local housing, and considers a Westside development

Quite a turnout for an allegedly impaired choice. Click to view larger
Quite a turnout for an allegedly impaired choice. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

As America was waiting on a crazy dude’s next move, 108,206 readers were spending time on Noozhawk this past week, according to our Google Analytics.

This is my take on your Top 5 stories. Spoiler alert: It’s my opinion column. Call me crazy.

1. 2 Injured as Pickup Truck Plunges Over Side of Highway 154 Near Santa Barbara

A Santa Barbara man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence Aug. 6 after his pickup truck plunged 300 feet off Highway 154 at Windy Gap, east of Painted Cave Road.

He and a passenger were trapped in the wreckage, and required a lengthy extrication by a small army of rescuers.

Christopher Scott, 58, suffered major injuries in the 2 p.m. rollover crash. He was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital after rescuers spent more than two hours trying to get him out of the mangled Toyota truck.

His passenger, Mary Cheryl Scott, 50, of Santa Barbara, was seriously injured in the crash. She was hoisted by helicopter to the roadway, and was rushed by American Medical Response ambulance to Cottage Hospital.

California Highway Patrol Officer Jonathan Gutierrez said Scott was driving eastbound down the mountain when he made an unsafe turning movement to the right. The vehicle struck an asphalt curb and was launched out of control over the side of the canyon.

Santa Barbara County firefighters were assisted in the extrication operation by Search and Rescue and U.S. Forest Service personnel, sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers.

2. BizHawk: Vegan Restaurant Coming to Coast Village Road in Santa Barbara

Well, what do you know. There really was a building behind the construction fencing and scaffolding. Click to view larger
Well, what do you know. There really was a building behind the construction fencing and scaffolding. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

According to our Josh Molina, a stylish vegan restaurant will “soon” be opening on the corner of Coast Village and Middle roads in Montecito. It took the Chinese less time to build the Great Wall and the Egyptians less time to erect a pyramid or two.

Oliver’s, at 1198 Coast Village Road, is supposed to open by the end of August and, indeed, the construction fencing and scaffolding have finally been removed — apparently just before they were declared historical landmarks.

Known as Peabody’s in its former life, I vaguely recall that it was a sister restaurant to the long-defunct State & A in downtown Santa Barbara. Both places reeked of the solvent used to clean the restrooms but, as neighborhood dives go, it was popular among construction workers and young Montecito families. We went there all the time when our kids were at Marymount of Santa Barbara. They’re adults now.

Telecommunications billionaire Craig McCaw bought the restaurant and set out on a lifelong odyssey to transform it. Oliver’s apparently will feature an open dining area, bar room and outdoor patio — just like Peabody’s.

What’s different is the food, which is entirely plant-based and will be provided by PlantLab, explained Yasmeen Lee, marketing director for Los Angeles-based Matthew Kenney Cuisine, PlantLab’s parent.

“It is a health-conscious community,” she said. “It’s a beautiful area, and there are not a lot of vegan and vegetarian spots out there.”

3. Third Time’s Not a Charm as Santa Barbara City Council Denies Another Vacation Rental Conversion

There’ll be no vacationing here, unless it’s a staycation. Click to view larger
There’ll be no vacationing here, unless it’s a staycation. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

For the third time in a month, the Santa Barbara City Council has spurned a request to convert a single-family residence into a short-term vacation rental.

The latest appeal came from the owners of a 1,260-square-foot house at 2017 Bath St., between West Mission and West Padre streets near Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. A representative of the owners, Deanne and Drew Rudman, sought the council’s approval after they were turned down by the city’s Architectural Board of Review, which had declared that such a conversion was not “sound community planning.”

A majority of the council agreed with the ABR appointees, citing the potential for an increase in nuisance behavior at the property as well as a worsening of parking problems in the neighborhood.

The parking excuse has me confused.

Under Santa Barbara’s Average Unit-Size Density Incentive Program, developers are encouraged to build higher-density projects, pretty much with no concern for neighborhood parking impacts. But if some poor sap wants to make a few bucks renting out his house to vacationers, he’s got to have The Granada garage on his property?

Perhaps the Rudmans should’ve said they’d only be renting to millenials.

Mayor Helene Schneider and Council members Jason Dominguez, Gregg Hart, Cathy Murillo and Bendy White voted to reject the appeal, with Councilmen Frank Hotchkiss and Randy Rowse dissenting.

4. Randy Alcorn: Don’t Be Fooled by Santa Barbara’s Housing ‘Crisis’ Ruse

Our Randy Alcorn is consistently one of Noozhawk’s top columnists. In fact, he and our Judy Foreman usually are in a close race for second place behind the dreck I write each week in this Best of Bill column.

Randy really struck a nerve with his latest column, on Santa Barbara’s housing situation. He’s heard the steady drumbeat of alarm over an affordable housing “crisis” — and he’s not buying it.

In typically blunt fashion, he shares some thoughts on a ticking population time bomb, eroding private property rights and the psychology of power.

For a few days, the column was accompanied by a mostly useful debate going on in our story comments section, which was a refreshing surprise. Unfortunately, it’s since sunk back into the mire of playground insults that are more typical of our reader comments. Enter at your own risk.

5. 12-Unit Rental Duplex and House Project Proposed for Westside

Off-street parking. Imagine that. Click to view larger
Off-street parking. Imagine that. (Interdisciplinary Architects rendering)

Give Ed St. George credit. The Santa Barbara developer is as undeterred by the South Coast’s hostility to growth as he is by its apathy toward housing working-class families and, especially, college students.

One of his latest projects — a 12-unit development at 1220 and 1222 San Andres St. on the Lower Westside — recently was granted design approval from the Architectural Board of Review.

As proposed, three single-family homes and a duplex would be razed to make way for five duplexes and two single-family residences. Six of the structures will be two stories tall and the other one will be three. Five of the units will have three bedrooms, six will have two bedrooms and a one-bedroom unit rounds out the array. Sizes range between 673 and 1,184 square feet.

The project is part of the City of Santa Barbara’s increasingly controversial Average Unit-Size Density Incentive Program to encourage higher density construction and expand housing options.

Here’s where St. George goes rogue. While AUD projects can all but ignore car parking concerns, he’s planning to “overpark” his project and include 17 spaces in all. Who does that?!

“I think parking is huge, especially for families,” he told our Josh Molina.

I happen to agree, even if city officials seem to think cars will be obsolete by a week from Thursday. Because, millenials.

St. George has another project in the pipeline about a mile away, but it might be a tougher sell.

At 302 and 308 W. Montecito St. in the West Beach neighborhood, he wants to erect a three-story, 32-room hotel with commercial space and a public art gallery. The ABR expressed concern about the size of the building’s mass, and neighbors are not too happy about the idea either.

Stay tuned.

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Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? 3 People Killed in High-Speed Crash on Mesa in Santa Barbara.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

Kenneth, what is the frequency? The Ghostly Radio Station That No One Claims to Run.

                                                                  •        •        •

Watch It

Maybe Peyton Manning isn’t feeling so at home with retirement after all. HT to my friend, Dave Bemis, for the laughs.

(Sports Recap video)

                                                                  •        •        •

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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