Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 2:04 am | Overcast 55º


Local News

Goleta Design Board Asks for Water-Wise Landscaping in Village at Los Carneros Project

The board pushes final approval of the 465-unit development project to November

A lack of water-wise landscaping and completed architectural design plans forced the Goleta Design Review Board to delay final approvals for the Village at Los Carneros project Tuesday.

The 465-unit development is slated for construction on a vacant 40-plus-acre site located north and west of Los Carneros Road, just south of Highway 101, on property where businesses such as Allergan are currently located.

After granting preliminary approval for plans last month, the design board took a look Tuesday at some of its outstanding questions for developers, which mostly involved landscaping, coloring and trash enclosures.

The board provided direction, although the Goleta City Council in July unanimously approved the project — a reincarnation of a former development never built — and an accompanying environmental impact report.

Developers from Comstock Homes went through 20 items of concern, with incorporating a community garden and installing a bridge with a more see-through pattern among them.

Design board members repeatedly commented on the lack of detailed architecture and construction plans for the project featuring a mix of single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes, town homes, condominium flats and apartments — 70 of which will be reserved as affordable housing via Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.

Gutters, lighting and trash and recycling enclosures were missing from plans, along with more specific designs for vertical side railing of the Tecolotito Creek bridge.

Board members liked the project's overall design and landscaping, but said the proposed water-tolerant plants and grass left much to be desired, suggesting the use of plants requiring no water or very little — changing an initial recommendation to employ low-to medium-use water plants.

At least 75 percent of project plants are supposed to be water-wise, a fact Comstock representatives explained along with plans to incorporate foundation shrubs, blue grama grass, cedar trees and existing eucalyptus.

“If we weren’t in a drought, I just wouldn’t say anything about the plant palette, because I think it’s a great plant palette,” said design board member Gregory Hyman, a landscaping professional. “We can’t pretend like our water situation is different than it is.”

The board asked developers to consider solar heating for the pool, but representatives said they planned to use energy-efficient, gas-powered options to save money.

Board chairman Bob Wignot suggested continuing the final plan approval to the Nov. 18 meeting, since developers said construction drawings would be available by then.

The Village at Los Carneros won’t use any reclaimed water, a fact Wignot said made him question whether the project should move forward at all.

“I think that’s a huge issue given the size of the project and where we are with our water supply,” he said.

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.

  • 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 >

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 through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

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 >