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Local News

Bill Macfadyen: Santa Barbara’s High-Density Apartment Process Grows Closer to State Street

NoozWeek’s Top 5 also acquires its Target, shoulders a Highway 101 collision, crowdfunds for the Summer Solstice Celebration and revisits “Deltopia”

This house would be demolished to make room for a 52-unit high-density apartment project in the 200 block of East Anapamu Street in downtown Santa Barbara. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo) Click to view larger
I like the roof. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Things may be unraveling around the country and across the globe, but it’s business as usual at Noozhawk, where Santa Barbara planning and development projects led the list of this past week’s Top 5 stories.

According to our Google Analytics, which I’m sharing with no one but you, Noozhawk had 110,876 readers over the last seven days.

What follows is my take on your most-read stories. Spoiler alert: It contains opinion.

1. 52-Unit Apartment Project Proposed for Downtown Santa Barbara

The largest apartment project proposed thus far under Santa Barbara’s Average Unit-Sized Density Incentive Program has entered the official review process. Many locals have been chafing at the seemingly sudden appearance of such projects, but this is one of the first that is close enough to downtown to reach the realm of common sense.

As our Josh Molina first reported, plans for the 52-unit, four-story apartment complex in the 200 block of East Anapamu Street call for two dozen one-bedroom apartments, 22 two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom apartments, along with 6,000 square feet of commercial space.

The high-density rental project on multiple parcels was brought to the Historic Landmarks Commission on April 4 by the owner, Santa Barbara-based Barranca Enterprises Inc., and its architects, DesignARC.

“This is a big project,” declared Nicole Hernandez, the city’s urban historian.

And multifaceted.

To make way for the new, several buildings would be demolished and two Queen Anne Free Classic-style houses would be relocated to the Garden Street side of the property. Built in 1905, the cottages are eligible for designation as “structures of merit.”

The project also would include an 11,545-square-foot underground parking garage with 72 spaces and 52 bike parking spaces.

Commission members offered feedback and approved an accompanying Cultural Landscape Study for 226-232 E. Anapamu St., 1117-1211 Garden St., 223 E. Figueroa St. and the surrounding area.

The proposal is a long way from approval. It still must be reviewed by the city Planning Commission, and some neighbors already are expressing concern.

“Just because some of the neighborhood has been destroyed doesn’t mean we should go ahead and knock down the rest,” said Steve Hoegerman, one of those neighbors.

I’m not sure that’s a valid complaint for this already urban property, which is across the street from the Villa Santa Barbara senior housing community, cater-cornered to First United Methodist Church Santa Barbara, and behind the city’s dilapidated police station that one day actually may undergo an extensive renovation. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

2. Santa Barbara Residents Get Crash Course on Proposed Small-Format Target Store

An April 9 meeting gave Santa Barbara residents an opportunity to hear and question plans for a small-format Target store at the old Galleria building at the corner of State Street and La Cumbre Road. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo) Click to view larger
Target tells all. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

For years, South Coast residents have been expectantly awaiting the arrival of a Target store. I’d say the anticipation has been like that of Los Angeles Dodgers fans dreaming of a world championship, but Target actually is coming to Santa Barbara.

Of course, like frustrated Dodgers fans, locals are learning that you can’t always get what you want.

Earlier this year, Target officials announced plans to convert the peculiar Galleria building at 3891 State St. into a “small-format” store. The concept is a new trend among large retailers like Minneapolis-based Target, and is particularly well-suited to size-challenged locations like Santa Barbara’s 34,000-square-foot site.

The typical Target — like the store in The Collection Riverpark in Oxnard — is in the range of 150,000 to 220,000 square feet.

According to company officials, the Santa Barbara store — which is expected to open in the fall — will sell portable technology products, entertainment accessories, apparel, beauty supplies, and home and sporting goods. Shoppers also will find a CVS pharmacy, a “grab-and-go” Starbucks, and a grocery selection that includes beer and wine.

To explain the deal, Target regional development manager John Dewes and city officials met with nearly three dozen locals at an April 9 forum at Hope School.

As our Josh Molina first reported, the crowd’s response generally was favorable toward plans for the store, which is located on the southeast corner of the intersection of State and La Cumbre Road.

“It’s not just a shrunken target,” Dewes pointed out. “As the store goes on, we learn more about our guests — and we make adjustments. The merchandise is selected and curated to the community.”

What those in attendance didn’t seem to like, Josh reported, was the likely traffic congestion at the already clogged intersection and the limited on-site parking.

City traffic engineer Derrick Bailey said project plans include traffic signal operation changes, new street lighting for the driveway along La Cumbre Road, and realigning driveways to improve sightlines and road safety. Dewes said Target has agreed to fund the upgrades.

3. Man Injured in Highway 101 Crash Near Goleta

The driver of a malfunctioning van that had pulled off Highway 101 near Goleta was severely injured the afternoon of April 11 when another motorist lost control of her vehicle and collided with his.

According to Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni, the wreck was reported around 4:30 p.m. on the northbound shoulder near the Turnpike Road exit ramp.

The van driver was standing outside of his parked vehicle when it was struck by the sedan, and Zaniboni said he was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with serious injuries. Updated details of his condition were not known.

The car’s driver and a passenger inside the van were not hurt.

Additional details were not available, but the crash is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

4. Solstice Celebration Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Save This Year’s Festival

Dancers parade up State Street during last year’s Summer Solstice Celebration in Santa Barbara. Organizers have launched a $200,000 fundraising campaign to keep this year’s celebration on track. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk file photo) Click to view larger
Looking to make it rain. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk file photo)

Struggling to overcome the one-two punch from Santa Barbara’s twin disasters, the Summer Solstice Celebration has embarked on an ambitious fundraising campaign for the annual spectacle that locals — and tens of thousands of visitors — have become accustomed to over the last 44 years.

“The funds that we usually get have been slow to come due to the recent disasters since a lot of local businesses have been impacted, and a lot that participate are local vendors,” Solstice executive director Robin Elander told our Brooke Holland.

“If sufficient funds are not raised, we would have to significantly scale back our operation. At this time, we do not plan to cancel it, though we are being proactive to ensure its success.”

Just about every other nonprofit organization around here can relate.

As of now, the three-day Summer Solstice Celebration is scheduled for June 22-24, and it includes the parade renowned for its creative flamboyance as well as an ongoing festival in Alameda Park. The undertaking’s yearly budget is around $258,000, Elander said.

To help pull it off, the organization launched a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $200,000 to pay for festival production and workshop staff, equipment rentals and transportation, permit fees, insurance, materials, and a beer and wine garden.

About $5,000 had been donated as of April 13.

Regular revenue for the festival comes from fees paid by vendors and by participants in the parade and workshops leading up to it, Elander said. The City of Santa Barbara kicks in $68,000, she added.

Click here to make an online donation.

5. No Major Problems Reported in Isla Vista’s ‘Deltopia’ Street Party

Partiers crowd Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista on April 7 during the annual Deltopia street party. No major problems were reported, but law enforcement and emergency personnel were kept busy with medical calls, loud parties, fights and under-age drinking. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo) Click to view larger
Del Playa Drive, Isla Vista’s main drag. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

The annual unsanctioned bacchanalia known as “Deltopia” drew an estimated 7,000 young revelers to Isla Vista on April 7, but authorities reported few serious incidents — beyond the usual medical calls, fights, loud parties and underage drinking.

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said at least 23 people had been transported to hospitals, mainly for alcohol overdoses. She said at least one individual overdosed on an opioid and was treated with a naloxone antidote.

At least 30 arrests were reported and 45 citations issued, primarily for minors in possession of alcohol.

I could go on, but why?

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Man Killed in Tree-Trimming Accident at Hollister Ranch Near Gaviota.

                                                                 •        •        •

Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

As data “breaches” go, Facebook is hardly on the scale of Equifax or the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in terms of actual damage potential. And is it really mining more of our personal preferences than, say, Google? But serial apologizer Mark Zuckerberg brought this on himself: GIFs and Memes Sum Up Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate Testimony in Mere Seconds.

                                                                 •        •        •

Best of Bill’s Instagram

@riley_the_wonder_malamute gets some love in my Instagram feed this past week. Along with my bald brother, Dr. Andrew Macfadyen, medical director of critical care at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, and the three-month anniversary of the #montecitoflood and #mud.

                                                                 •        •        •

Watch It

Not to harp on it, but have you herd of how relaxed these cows are?

(Hands on Harps video)

                                                                 •        •        •

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

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