Tuesday, March 20 , 2018, 1:36 pm | A Few Clouds 61º


Local News


CHP Abandons Plans for Station at Contested Goleta Site

Hearing pleas from neighbors, the agency will continue looking for an optimal location

In the face of community opposition, the CHP had given up on plans to build a new station on this parcel at 7780 Hollister Ave. in Goleta.
In the face of community opposition, the CHP had given up on plans to build a new station on this parcel at 7780 Hollister Ave. in Goleta. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk file photo)

Facing strong opposition from the surrounding community, the California Highway Patrol announced Tuesday that it is giving up on plans to build a new station at 7780 Hollister Ave. in Goleta.

Officials made the decision after considering a draft environmental impact report for the proposed site and enduring a heated hours-long public hearing on the topic back in December, according to  Capt. Mark D’Arelli, commander of the Santa Barbara station.

The state had hoped to build a new station to replace its aging facility at 6465 Calle Real.

“It is evident the community of Goleta has serious concerns with this location,” D’Arelli said in a statement, noting the state has withdrawn its application for the much-contested western Goleta site.

“It is the desire of the CHP to maintain cooperative working relationships with the community and work in partnership to achieve our critical life-saving mission. I would like to take the opportunity to thank each and every citizen who voiced their utmost support for the hard work and dedication of the CHP during this process, but were ultimately concerned about the location of the proposed office.” 

The California Department of General Services, which is the lead agency on the project, will continue looking in the greater Santa Barbara area for a better location.

“The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of safety, service and security to the people of California,” D’Arelli said. “Regardless of our future location, we will continue to provide this exceptional level of service to our wonderful community here in the Santa Barbara area.”

More than 100 opponents of the project came out in December, many of them saying the proposed 5-acre site north of Hollister Avenue between Las Armas and Via Jero roads — not yet purchased by the state — was too close to Ellwood Elementary School, the recently built Hideaway residential development and a planned senior living community.

The proposed site was also lacking an existing water connection, a pertinent fact because the Goleta Water District placed a temporary ban on authorizing new service due to drought conditions in October 2014.

District officials were adamant they couldn’t allow the state an exemption.

The state has said CHP’s current facility, built on an acre in 1982, isn’t up to seismic safety and other state requirements.

Plans for the new facility call for construction of buildings, auto service bays, a 148-foot tall radio antenna tower, secured and visitor parking areas, equipment enclosures and storage, a fuel island with gas tanks, an emergency generator, utility improvements and more.

Hideaway resident Robert Miller, who led the coalition of residents that rose up against the project, said he was notified of the decision in person Tuesday by D'Arelli, who was sympathetic to their concerns and pleased residents had acted respectfully.

From the beginning, Miller has said residents were in support of the CHP's mission, just not at that particular location.

"The CHP listened and we are grateful," Miller wrote in an email thanking fellow opponents. "We told Captain D’Arelli that we will do all that we can to help them find an appropriate location in Goleta."

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The CHP’s existing station at 6465 Calle Real does not meet seismic and other requirements, prompting a search for a new location.
The CHP’s existing station at 6465 Calle Real does not meet seismic and other requirements, prompting a search for a new location. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk file photo)
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