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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 7:25 am | Mostly Cloudy 48º


Bill Macfadyen: Will Santa Barbara Brake Out Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo?

NoozWeek’s Top 5 covers its bear tracks, rescues a dog, mixes use in Old Town Goleta, and sets the sheen for an enduring controversy

What can be conceived can be created. Right?
What can be conceived can be created. Right? (www.flexdesigns.net rendering)


Just under the trade deadline, there were 96,512 people who read Noozhawk this past week. Here’s my take on your top stories:

1. Not So Fast, Santa Barbara Tells Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo — Or So Large

A proposal to replace a long-vacant Hitchcock Way car dealership with ... another car dealership has run into a flashing yellow light from Santa Barbara’s always entertaining Architectural Board of Review.

New Century Automotive Group wants to build a two-story dealership at 350 Hitchcock Way, between DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara and a complex of townhomes to the north.

The plan is for Alfa Romeo and Maserati to have have showrooms on the ground floor, with another luxury car dealer — which may or may not be Ferrari — sharing the upper floor with service bays.

But the ABR, along with a handful of neighbors, has compiled a litany of objections, saying the project is too big, doesn’t have enough landscaping, would mean the loss of too many trees and — the pièce de résistance — is “not Santa Barbara architecture.”

Oooooh. Can’t have that in a part of town where there’s hardly a preponderance of “Santa Barbara architecture.” Or any, if we’re being honest about it — at least by El Pueblo Viejo standards.

I’m not unsympathetic to the conscientious objectors. Although the design is unique for the South Coast, it’s a cookie-cutter look you can see along any freeway throughout Southern California.

That’s not the only issue, though.

“I have a problem with this building and the whole way you have planned activity on this site,” ABR member Howard Wittausch told the applicants.

“The idea of putting showrooms and service bays on the second floor is unnecessary. It is done for the purpose of just creating a big, bulky massive building.”

Nothing was decided at the ABR hearing, and our Josh Molina reports that the project will be back before the board at an unspecified future date.

Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh wasn’t the only one patrolling La Purisima Highlands recently. (Pat Walsh photo)
Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh wasn’t the only one patrolling La Purisima Highlands recently. (Pat Walsh photo)

2. Black Bear Spotted Wandering Around Lompoc Neighborhood​

A black bear wandered around Lompoc’s La Purisima Highlands neighborhood the night of July 19, sparking more curiosity than concern.

The adult bear didn’t make any aggressive moves and appeared to be in good health. Although game wardens were called in, the animal ultimately left on its own.

“Really, all we did ... is monitor the bear’s movement and try to assess its health condition,” Jamie Dostal, a warden with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told our Janene Scully.

He estimated the bear weighed between 150 and 200 pounds, but said wardens couldn’t get close enough to determine if it was male or female.

The bear eventually ambled behind the old drive-in theater and into the riverbed, heading upstream toward Highway 246.

Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh took to Twitter to joke about the sighting.

“So the answer is, ‘yes’ there are bears in Lompoc,” he tweeted, with a picture as proof.

Luna, in the heat of the moment. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
Luna, in the heat of the moment. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

3. Firefighters Come to Rescue of Severely Dehydrated Dog on Trail Near Gaviota

A 105-pound German shepherd hit a severe dehydration wall on the afternoon of July 19 while hiking with its owner on the Gaviota coast.

Fortunately for both, firefighters and paramedics from nearby Santa Barbara County Station 18 were in the right place for the rescue.

As our Tom Bolton first reported, fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the dog, named Luna, and her owner were hiking the San Julian Trail at Las Cruces when the animal became severely dehydrated in the nearly 90-degree heat.

The hiking party was on its way back to the trailhead when Luna pretty much collapsed about a mile out. Her owner called 9-1-1, and the SBCFD entourage trekked up with three bags of ice and a Stokes Basket.

While firefighters iced down the dog, a paramedic administered fluids via an IV.

“They started the IV in the dog’s left, front paw, and she responded and perked up quite a bit,” Zaniboni said.

Luna got a ride back in the Stokes Basket, then was taken by her owner to a Santa Barbara emergency veterinary clinic, where she was “doing just fine,” Zaniboni said.

Forget the design, have you ever seen so many suits in Old Town Goleta? (RRM Design Group rendering)
Forget the design, have you ever seen so many suits in Old Town Goleta? (RRM Design Group rendering)

4. Goleta Planning Commission Approves 175-Unit Mixed-Use Development in Old Town

After years of perseverance, the developers of an Old Town Goleta mixed-use development got a big boost July 27 when the Goleta Planning Commission granted approval of the 175-unit project.

City Ventures has proposed building The Old Town Village on a 12-acre parcel of vacant land west of South Kellogg Avenue and Kellogg Way south of Hollister Avenue.

The project includes 113 townhomes, 34 live-work units, 28 shopkeeper townhomes, a community center, a pocket park and other amenities. The City of Goleta also plans to extend Ekwill Street through to the project from Kellogg.

The commission backed the plan on a 4-0 vote, with commissioner Katie Maynard recusing herself because she lives nearby.

“It will be a wonderful project for Old Town,” Planning Commission chairman Eric Onnen said.

“It provides needed workforce housing and some new commercial space via the shopkeepers’ units.”

Although it approved the development plan, the commission also voted to have the City Council and City Ventures consider reducing the maximum size of some of the buildings, to 25 feet from 35.

Well, isn’t that slick? (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
Well, isn’t that slick? (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

5. Oil Sheen Offshore from Goleta Beach Likely Caused by Natural Seepage

An oil slick reported July 29 by two men kayaking off Goleta Beach Park appears to be the result of ... natural seepage.

Two and a half months after a pipeline leak near Refugio State Beach sent an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean, it’s not surprising that everyone and their brother leaped into action over this week’s discovery. I have a hunch it won’t be the last.

As Noozhawk first reported, U.S. Coast Guard officials concluded that the sheen — which was about three miles long and a half-mile wide — was the result of natural seepage.

The next morning, however, Coast Guard officials at a higher pay grade apparently thought they better be, shall we say, less precise.

“We are actively investigating where it could have originated from,” said Lt. Jeremy Maginot of USCG’s Marine Safety Detachment.

Some sheen was observed in the area of Platform Holly, which is located in the middle of major-league natural seep activity. That was enough for some to speculate that there may be a link.

Not us, says Venoco, the platform’s operator.

“There have been no incidents at Venoco facilities,” said Keith Wenal, health, environment and safety manager.

Of course, there has been no activity at Venoco facilities, either. The company’s local operations have been dead in the water since the May 19 Plains All American Pipeline failure. Without the pipeline, there’s no other currently authorized way for Venoco to move its products to market.

You think Venoco’s inability to extract the oil has any affect on the seeps? Naaaah.

                                                                 •        •        •

Keep it on the DL this time, but here’s Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week, from my peripatetic tour of the World Wide Web: 7 Not-So-Secret Homes of Super-Secret Societies.

Either The Meadows is No. 8 or The Pentaverate is even more powerfully clandestine than we know.

                                                                 •        •        •

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele school us on the value of teachers. You’ll laugh, too. HT to my friend, Chelsea Duffy, executive director of Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

(Comedy Central 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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