Pixel Tracker

Monday, January 21 , 2019, 4:33 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Chumash Group Settles with Goleta, Developer Over Marriott Hotel Slated for Tribal Site

The agreement means building permits can proceed for the Marriott Residence Inn project planned for Hollister Avenue

An artist’s rendering depicts the 118-room Marriott Residence Inn slated for the 6300 block of Hollister Avenue in Goleta.
An artist’s rendering depicts the 118-room Marriott Residence Inn slated for the 6300 block of Hollister Avenue in Goleta. (Contribute photo)

A tribal group that sued a developer and the City of Goleta over a hotel slated to sit on top of a Chumash tribal archaeological site has settled a lawsuit, allowing the project to move forward.

The talks between the groups also bring to light the possibility that a Chumash cultural heritage site could be set up at Lake Los Carneros Park.

The settlement stems from the Marriott Residence Inn, which was approved by Goleta's City Council last September. The 118-room hotel is slated for the 6300 block of Hollister Avenue, across the street from the Santa Barbara Airport.

The developer of the project is Bob Olson, who also completed the Courtyard Marriott hotel on Storke Road in Goleta.  

Chumash advocates have said the site contains human remains and possibly a tribal cemetery, and the group Friends of Saspili sued Olson on grounds that the project's environmental documents were incomplete.

This project was originally a 140-room hotel but was pared down because the site is home to the Chumash archaeological site.  

Meetings with the Chumash have been ongoing since 2008, and the development is slated to have an educational display and garden. All earthwork on the project must also be done with an on-site archaeologist and Chumash representative present. 

The request for dismissal of the lawsuit was filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on July 1. The developer did not respond to a request for comment.

Attorney Marc Chytilo, who represented the Friends of Saspili, told Noozhawk on Wednesday night that it's been an "eight-year battle" for more protections to the site.

Saspili was the name of the large set of Chumash Villages located in the area and on the site, predating the Goleta Slough by centuries when the area was actually a harbor.

The Friends of Saspili website states that between 1929 and 1959, over a dozen burials were located on the site and none has been removed.  

Chytilo said the initial hotel proposal in 2008 had been "very careless" and stated there would be no impacts to the site as a result of the development, and the group sued for the developer to conduct an environmental review.

The settlement allows the development company to move forward with its building permits.

"The developer agreed to implement a more aggressive set of cultural resource protection measures," Chytilo said.

Other terms were agreed to, such as additional training of the monitors who have oversight during the construction process.

A monetary settlement was also part of the agreement between the tribal group and the developer, but terms of the settlement were kept confidential.

Talks are also under way for a possible cultural site at the city's Los Carneros Park.  

Chytilo said the city made a preliminary agreement and "the City Council signaled their support for using a portion of Los Carneros Park as a Chumash cultural site."

There's an effort to place the site on a piece of the park land, "kind of like the Stow House, but focused on Chumash History," he said.

Details are still in the works as the group is reaching out to ancestors of the original Saspili Village residents to hear what they'd like to see at the site, Chytilo said.

"The City Council recognizes that this is the right thing to do on behalf of the Chumash people," he said. 

Goleta City Attorney Tim Giles said the council had not obligated itself to the cultural site project.

"Council, acting on discussions that predate the lawsuit, has directed staff to explore options for possibly locating a Chumash cultural heritage site at City owned Lake Los Carneros," he told Noozhawk. "The council has taken no action obligating itself to such a project, just to the investigation of the possibility."

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >