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Santa Barbara Approves $6.4 Million to Build Retail and Industrial Buildings Near Airport in Goleta

Despite a lawsuit from the city of Goleta, the Santa Barbara City Council has approved spending $6.4 million to begin work on a nine-building construction project on airport property on Hollister Avenue. 

In the first phase, Santa Barbara plans to build three buildings at 6100 Hollister Avenue. Building 1 would consist of 3,790 square feet of retail; Building 2 and Building 3 are two separate light industrial buildings made up to 4,419 square feet each.

Santa Barbara previously sold part of the parcel to Direct Relief International, which is constructing a new 125,000-square-foot headquarters. The sale of that portion of the parcel wil help fund the construction of the new buildings. 

Goleta has filed a lawsuit over traffic impact fees that it believes it is owed over the project. The lawsuit was filed in 2017 and is still awaiting a court date.

The properties are the center of the latest spat between the city of Goleta and Santa Barbara. The city of Santa Barbara owns the airport and several parcels around it. Those parcels, however, are surrounded by the city of Goleta. 

The two agencies have historically butted heads over territory. Last year, Goleta officials protested the airport's master plan approval, arguing that the long-term increase in travel would bring more motorists to Goleta, impacting traffic and worsening congestion.

Goleta took a similar posture over the buildings at 6100 Hollister Avenue, contending that more cars, shoppers and workers will frequent the area. Santa Barbara, also in that area, is working on an auto mall with at least three dealerships. 

Goleta disputes that amount of traffic impact fees that it should receive from the city in each case. The potential traffic problems are exacerbated just up the road, at the intersection of Storke Road and Hollister Avenue, which has experienced significant traffic congestion, and long traffic lights, from a flurry of development in the area in recent years. 

With a possible trial looming, the relationships between the two cities looks like it will get worse before it gets better. 

It is unclear how long it will take the city to build out the nine total buildings.

"It will take several years to get there," said Airport Director Hazel Johns.

The city also plans to build new sidewalks around the project, and install new lighting. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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