Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 8:57 am | Fair 48º

 
 
 
 

Developer Seeks To Delay Costly Fixes At Old Motel In Santa Maria

Reported sale of Laz-E-Daze Retirement Center raises questions about future of improvements at facility to be used as farmworker housing facility

A decision on whether the owners of the Laz-E-Daze Retirement Center can delay required property improvements has been postponed by the Santa Maria City Council.
A decision on whether the owners of the Laz-E-Daze Retirement Center can delay required property improvements has been postponed by the Santa Maria City Council. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Maria City Council has agreed to wait another month to consider whether the owner of the Laz-E-Daze Retirement Center can delay required property improvements while still operating as a boarding house for field workers.

On Tuesday night, the council approved the request of Western Sky Properties to postpone ruling on a five-year development agreement. The hearing was rescheduled for Feb. 2.

“With delay of the hearing, we believe that we can shorten the time periods for completion of the needed facility improvements and infrastructure replacements,” Kevin Teixeira, Western Sky Properties president and broker, said in a letter to the city.

The facility on four acres at 1318 N. Broadway, long known as Laz-E-Daze, has a new sign saying Pasado Del Sol.

The Planning Commission recently voted to revoke the conditional-use permit that allowed Laz-E-Daze to operate as a senior housing facility. Despite that permit, over the years the facility began housing low-income residents, and was the site of many police calls.

In revoking the existing permit, the Planning Commission granted Western Sky Properties permission to operate as a boarding house for field workers under the federal H2A Temporary Agricultural Worker program — a role it had already fulfilled last year.

The development agreement to be considered by the council would let the property owner defer costly improvements while working to obtain financing for a bigger multi-use project to demolish existing structures and build new commercial and residential buildings. 

Staff pointed out that property representatives remained mum during the Planning Commission meeting about whether they planned to sell the property, despite being asked twice by Commissioner Maribel Hernandez during the December meeting.

City officials said they have since learned the property was already in escrow, and questioned whether commissioners would have recommended approval of the development agreement if they had known of the pending change in ownership.

With the new information, staff said it remained uncertain whether the project should be approved.

“Knowing now that the current owners intended to abandon their plans to develop the property, the question before council is whether or not the necessary improvements should be phased-in over time or should they be done immediately as is the case with a normal planned development permit approval,” Community Development Director Larry Appel said in the staff report.

“Staff is content with the use of the site as a boarding house for H2A housing, but in light of the owner’s decision to sell the property, and that there is no guarantee that a new owner will perform the improvements, staff is in support of the DA as submitted,” Appel said.

Laz-E-Daze originally was a motel alongside Highway 101 before the freeway was rebuilt on the eastern edge of Santa Maria.

In the 1960s, it received permission to house senior citizens, and later became home to low-income residents.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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 >