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Goleta Council Rejects 2nd Attempt for General Plan Amendment for Gas Station

On a 3-2 vote, city leaders turned down proposal to accommodate project near Camino Real Marketplace

A second attempt to rewrite Goleta’s General Plan land-use designation to allow for a gas station adjacent to the Ice in Paradise skating rink was unsuccessful this week. Click to view larger
A second attempt to rewrite Goleta’s General Plan land-use designation to allow for a gas station adjacent to the Ice in Paradise skating rink was unsuccessful this week. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

A second attempt to rewrite Goleta’s General Plan land-use designation to allow for a gas station adjacent to the Ice in Paradise skating rink was unsuccessful.

By a 3-2 vote — with Stuart Kasdin, Kyle Richards and Mayor Paula Perotte opposed — the Goleta City Council on Tuesday night rejected plans to initiate the study of a possible General Plan amendment that Camino Real IV, LLC, requested to accommodate a gas station at 6975 Santa Felicia Drive. 

Perotte said the amendment proposed at the 4.32-acre site on the southwest corner of the intersection of Santa Felicia Drive and Storke Avenue didn’t provide additional public benefit to the community.

“When changing the General Plan,  it has to have a huge public benefit,” Perotte said. “I do not want our applicant to take it personal. It’s about what we think is in the best interest of our community.”

The site is zoned for commercial retail and transit facility uses, Goleta senior planner Andy Newkirk said.

The applicant hoped to change the land-use from community commercial to a combination of open space and either intersection or highway commercial space or general commercial use.

“If there’s an opportunity for the public to get lower gas — that would be best,” said Councilman Roger Aceves, who voted in support of the General Plan amendment initiation. “I’d like to see what the project is going to be and how the public feels about it.

To deny an application to initiate a study, without having the facts to deny it, doesn’t do the public a service because the public has the right the see what options are available and how it will be a benefit to our community.”

At the public hearing, council members listened to advocates on each side of the applicant’s request.

Camino Real Marketplace property manager Mark Ingalls said the request follows the guiding principals of the Camino Real Specific Plan, the development plan that covers the Camino Real Marketplace and Girsh Park.

The Camino Real Specific Plan was approved by Santa Barbara County in 1997, five years before Goleta cityhood.

A Goleta resident said she was fed up with the clogged streets near the property. She was concerned about the potential risks of a gas station because the parcel is located within the Santa Barbara Airport approach zone.

A resident who has lived in Isla Vista for 49 years disagreed.

Anne Sanders said she was "increasingly dismayed" with city’s explosive growth and the vehicle-congested area, but she believed the project could potentially decrease traffic and urged the council to support the General Plan amendment. 

Kim Schizas, who was representing the Camino Real Marketplace, said an analysis that integrates a traffic impact study is necessary.

“It’s all speculation because we don’t have the benefit of a traffic study — that’s what we need, ” Schizas said. “We aren’t asking to approve our project, the future project or to endorse it — we want the opportunity to come in the door with an application. We know this is an uphill battle.”

In a letter to Goleta staff, resident Barbara Massey disapproved of the General Plan change. 

“General Plan amendments should only be approved for very exceptional and necessary projects,” Massey wrote. 

The applicant planned to cover the costs associated with the initiation, according to a staff report from Peter Imhof, Goleta's director of planning and environmental review. 

In July, Camino Real IV, LLC, submitted a request to study a possible land-use designation change at the same location that was discussed on Tuesday. The council denied the applicant's request.

Goleta's General Plan has been amended 16 times since 2006.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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.

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