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Santa Barbara Council Rejects Goleta’s Appeal of Automobile Dealerships

Development would house Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Infinity dealerships on 6200 block of Hollister Avenue

Woman speaks to city council. Click to view larger
Goleta Deputy City Attorney Winnie Cai testifies Tuesday night before the Santa Barbara City Council, which was rejected an appeal of an auto dealership proposed for the 6200 block of Hollister Avenue. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

For the city of Goleta, the third time was not the charm.

The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday night rejected the city’s appeal of a proposed automobile dealership at 6210-6290 Hollister Ave.

The vote was 6-0.

Santa Barbara owns the land and the municipal airport, and much of the property nearby — all of which is surrounded by the city of Goleta.

“We are talking about a parcel that is nine miles from this room, but is in our backyard,” said Goleta Councilman Kyle Richards.

Goleta previously appealed elements of Santa Barbara’s Airport Master Plan and development at 6100 Hollister Ave, where the city plans to build two 4,021-square-foot retail buildings, six light industrial buildings of 4,500 to 7,500 square feet each, and a seventh light industrial building of 7,500 square feet on the site.

Goleta contends that the automobile dealership will have adverse traffic impacts on the city, and that the city of Santa Barbara should pay $1.19 million in transportation development fees. Santa Barbara does not charge developer impact fees.

Santa Barbara’s study of nearby intersections determined that the development would not cause Goleta to experience a significant cumulative or project-specific impact in the short-term or long-term in either the morning or afternoon peak hours.

Councilman Randy Rowse, however, noted that the area’s real traffic problems come from the development the Goleta Council approved.

“You look at the development near Storke and Hollister and it will knock your socks off,” Rowse said.

The 6-acre project proposed by D&G Lin calls for a 26-foot-tall, two-story building that will house Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, and include showrooms and a service department. A 30-foot-tall, one-story building will be home to Infinity.

The dealership project also includes 184 parking spaces and 71 inventory spaces. The project also would rely upon an existing lease of 200 parking spaces from the airport at 200 Frederick Lopez Road for storage of inventory.

Goleta’s Deputy City Attorney Winnie Cai said the environmental impact report for the project is flawed, the traffic analysis is illegal, and the Planning Commission’s February approval violated state planning and zoning laws.

A contingent of Goleta officials attended Tuesday’s council meeting, including Cai, Richards, Mayor Paula Perotte and City Manager Michelle Green.

“I want to encourage us to work collaboratively,” Richards said. “We have a lot to gain by continuing the discussion.”

Santa Barbara Councilman Gregg Hart agreed that there is much to gain by having conversations, but that delaying approval of the automobile project wasn’t the answer.

“We can’t wait,” Hart said.

Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon agreed.

“It’s not fair to the applicant to hold the project back while we calculate fees,” Sneddon said.

Councilman Jason Dominguez was even more harsh. He pointed out two math errors in the document that Cai submitted the day of the meeting.

He called it “situational bargaining” and added that he didn’t know if the city’s approach was intentional, “recklessness” or just neglect.

“This doesn’t seem like how friends and neighbors work out disagreements," Dominguez said. 

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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