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Planning Commission Pushes Forward Plans for Park in Old Town Goleta

Plans for an Old Town neighborhood park are moving forward as the Goleta Planning Commission on Monday recommended approval for the environmental analysis and rezoning the land for recreational use.

The Goleta City Council will discuss the issue at a future meeting.

The four-acre site at Hollister and Kellogg avenues is vacant land now, and the city’s now-defunct Redevelopment Agency bought the property for a park in 2011. Goleta’s General Plan and other guiding documents have found a need for a park in that neighborhood, so the city funded an environmental review and design consultants.

Van Atta Associates has been gathering public input for the park design, which will include a multipurpose field, a basketball court, a playground, restrooms and a skateboarding plaza, said Claudia Dato, senior management analyst with the City of Goleta.

Plans also include a pathway that connects the Armitos Avenue park, which has a playground and benches, to the new park.

An environmental review found no significant impacts, or at least none after mitigation measures are taken, Dato said.

The Kellogg Ranch Homeowners Association has questioned the exact placement of the path — which isn’t finalized — since it cuts close to homes. Residents asked the city whether the path could be moved to the east side of San Jose Creek, but planning staff said the proposed alignment is environmentally superior with less impact to the creek and existing trees.

“I still think it’s a bad idea to do the path,” Kellogg Ranch resident Reilly Pollard said at Monday night’s meeting. The proposed path cuts through his property.

Armitos Park was supposed to be a pocket park, so there’s no need to connect the two parks, he added.

“Mitigation might help or court may help, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.

Elliott Rebuck, who works with Skate One, thanked the city for including a skateboarding element with the new park design. He’s also involved in the Goleta Skateboarding Movement, a new nonprofit organization that helped organize the Speak Up For Skateboarding event at Santa Barbara’s skate park.

The group has been advocating for a network of skateboard parks in the Goleta Valley for a few years.

Commissioners asked if the proposed 3,200 square feet of space is enough, and Rebuck said it definitely won’t fill all the needs of the community.

“That size is not necessarily adequate for the entire community, but it does fit into that park and it will be utilized and it will be functional,” he said.

Dato said there will be a “mini design process” just for the skate element, and the design consultants will be holding a public workshop in early October with outreach to the skateboarding community and surrounding neighborhoods.

Commission chair Meg West asked about including a dog park, but Dato said active uses such as a field, a court and a skateboarding plaza aren’t always compatible with a dog park. She added that the city is still in early stages of design so there haven’t been discussions yet about allowing or prohibiting dogs on leashes at the park.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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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