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Monday, November 19 , 2018, 12:06 pm | Fair with Haze 65º

 
 
 
 
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Santa Barbara Commission Backs Removal Of Two Healthy Pine Trees Near Montecito

Plan for Coast Village Plaza moves forward after Parks & Recreation Commission approval Wednesday

The owners of the Coast Village Plaza near Montecito got approval Wednesday to remove two pine trees and build a deck with an outdoor dining area.
The owners of the Coast Village Plaza near Montecito got approval Wednesday to remove two pine trees and build a deck with an outdoor dining area.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

One of three Canary Island pine trees in front of the Coast Village Plaza near Montecito will live — the two others are headed for the woodchipper. 

The Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Commission voted Wednesday night to allow the owners of the plaza, H&R investments, to chop down two trees, paving the way for dramatic changes to its 18,869-square-foot shopping center

The developers want to build a new outdoor dining deck area near where the trees stand now. The trees also contribute to "leaf litter," which H&R investments says creates a safety hazard. 

"With all that construction, I just don't see how those trees would maintain a stable life," commissioner Beebe Longstreet said.

The developers had originally wanted to take down all three trees, which bookend the development at 1187 Coast Village Rd.

The two trees that will come down share a trunk and stand next to the driveway on the east side of the development.

H&R investments, however, agreed to save the third tree at the west end of the site, where the developers plan to build a circular staircase leading down to shops and the parking lot.

The owners have submitted an application to the city to build the new dining area, replace the exterior columns and alter the driveway to make it less steep.

H&R investments wants to remove all of the landscaping in front of the building and then add new landscaping, a circular stairwell and other remodeling efforts. 

The city has already approved a modification for the project, allowing the decks to intrude within the required 10-foot street setback.

Some of the public speakers said they objected to the removal of the healthy trees, for no good reason other than to make it easier to develop. The developers plan to plant a replacement flame tree. 

"I am here to let you know how much we do appreciate our trees," nearby resident Charlene Little said.

"They are very special to us. Especially in this time of the climate warming. Sidewalks can be hot to walk on and we just love the shade of a tree."

Cindy Feinberg, president of the Montecito Association, said she wants to maintain the semi-rural character of the community.

"What we really don't want to happen in Montecito is for the (Coast Village Plaza) to become a strip mall," she said.

"I would encourage all of you to do your best if you could to help protect the aesthetics of Coast Village Road."

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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