Tuesday, August 21 , 2018, 5:50 pm | Fair 73º


Local News


Goleta Seizes Opportunity for More Old Town Public Parking

City Council votes to pursue shared parking lot agreement with Community West Bank for 18 daytime, free public parking spots

Goleta City Council discussed Old Town parking options Tuesday night, specifically whether to approve leasing several spaces from Community West Bank.
Goleta City Council discussed Old Town parking options Tuesday night, specifically whether to approve leasing several spaces from Community West Bank.    (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The search for a better parking situation in Old Town Goleta got a shot in the arm this week when city officials agreed to share some spaces with Community West Bank.

The Goleta City Council voted 4-1 to enter into a three-year shared parking lease agreement with the property owner of Community West Bank at 5827 Hollister Ave.

Councilman Roger Aceves opposed the move, saying the city lacked a “fully cooked” plan to enforce any parking restrictions.

The city agreed to pay $5,400 for 18 public parking spaces in the now-private lot at the corner of Hollister and Pine avenues in the first year, with an escalation rate of $1 per space per year. The cumulative cost after three years will be $16,848.

Council members lauded the vote as a first step toward making Old Town more parking-friendly for people patronizing restaurants and businesses, many during the lunch hour.

Public parking would be limited to daylight hours only because of sparse lighting, and the city of Goleta would be able to authorize towing, stencil its spaces and provide directional “public parking” signage.

The city would pay for those items, but the property owner would be responsible for maintaining the lot. 

“I think we need to get a start somehow,” Councilwoman Paula Perotte said. “I think we’re just going to have to watch and see how this plays out.”

Parking has long been an issue in the neighborhood, with officials asking staff to seek more off-street options so the city might eventually add bike lanes and remove some street parking from Hollister Avenue.

In addition to limiting the amount of time a car can be parked in the Old Town commercial district — a downtown Santa Barbara strategy — officials have also considered acquiring property, leasing it or re-striping Hollister.

City staff identified six properties as having parking potential of at least 15 spaces, but only two owners were open to leasing extra spaces or selling.

Community West Bank was receptive, explaining that 18 of 34 parking spaces in its lot weren’t required per land use rules.

The plan is to lease the spaces for the approximate cost of maintaining the parking lot, at $25 per space per month for the first year and increases in subsequent years.

After three years, the agreement would automatically renew for each following year unless a party wanted to terminate the deal with 30 days notice.

Another parking deal that fell through involved an Old Town property owner that would’ve required $125 per space per month for 40 spaces, along with weekly landscape and maintenance costs.

Staff is also still considering an additional lot near Community West Bank for another option in the future.

Aceves sparred with Mayor Jim Farr a bit on the city’s master plan for Old Town, with Aceves saying the city would be “spinning its wheels” until there’s a strategy for enforcing parking.

He worried the city would be paying for employees to park in the lot and was also concerned when city planners didn’t know exactly what the lot signage would look like.

Money for the annual lease ($5,400) would come from economic development funds, along with $1,000 for stencils and signage and relatively minor maintenance that could be absorbed into existing budgets.

“This is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with,” Farr said of Old Town parking availability. “We know where we want to go.”

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.

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