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Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 7:57 am | Fair 40º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Planners Give Thumbs Up to Project Proposed at Former Greyhound Station Site

Two buildings with office and retail space are planned for the property on the corner of Carrillo and Chapala streets

Two new buildings are proposed for the site of the old Greyhound Station at Chapala and Carrillo streets in downtown Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Two new buildings are proposed for the site of the old Greyhound Station at Chapala and Carrillo streets in downtown Santa Barbara.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara Planning Commission has given its backing to a project that would transform the city’s former downtown Greyhound bus station into new commercial space.

The corner of Carrillo and Chapala streets has sat empty and fenced off since the last Greyhound bus took off from the busy corner in 2012.

The bus line now runs from 224 Chapala St. near the Amtrak station and the waterfront.

A two-story, 10,000-square-foot building is proposed for the corner, and a single-story 1,000-square-foot building for the northeast end of the property.

Included in the plans are a Spanish colonial style with outdoor patios, a narrower Chapala Street driveway, a handful of bicycle parking spots and wider surrounding sidewalks.

“The direction from our client is really just to make this building as flexible and adaptable as possible for whatever uses might come along,” said Brian Cearnal of the project’s architectural firm, The Cearnal Collective.

The 11 planned parking spots, he said, will likely be used by future tenants’ employees.

At a recent Planning Commission meeting, city project planner Allison De Busk noted that parking for a new commercial development on the site technically isn’t required by city codes because it sits next door to a city parking lot.

The project’s design received praise from the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission in November, and planning commissioners offered a similar assessment.

Plans for the proposed buildings at Chapala and Carrillo streets include outdoor patios and bicycle parking. Click to view larger
Plans for the proposed buildings at Chapala and Carrillo streets include outdoor patios and bicycle parking.  (Contributed photo)

“I think it’s well-designed and long overdue in terms of an improved aesthetic and functionality for this corner at this intersection,” Commissioner Deborah Schwartz said.

But because it would sit on a such a busy and increasingly prominent point in the city, several commissioners asked to see more bicycle racks.

“We have an opportunity here to provide an area for alternative forms of transportation,” Commissioner Lesley Wiscomb said.

Commissioner Mike Jordan called the corridor “the next State Street,” and argued that its increasing prominence coupled with the desire to promote greater bike use necessitated more bike racks and more attention to pedestrians’ experience walking down the sidewalks.

Another concern commissioners had was the pinch sidewalk tree planters would put on the width of the sidewalks and the flow of pedestrian traffic.

Along with their approval, the commission requested that The Cearnal Collective work with city transportation staff to study where more bike racks could be placed on the property or sidewalks.

They also asked the project applicant, Carrillo Pacific, LLC, to study whether it would be reasonable and feasible to place grates around the bases of the adjacent Chapala Street trees so as to allow for more pedestrian walking space on the sidewalk.

The commission approved the project’s development plan 5-1, with Jordan dissenting. He argued that the commission’s added requests weren’t a strong enough nudge toward implementing those changes.

Though it gained the commission’s approval, the project doesn’t yet have the green light to begin construction, since final city approvals and permits are required after the plan’s final details are hammered out.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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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