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Santa Barbara School District May Consider Housing Project on Vacant Land Near Turnpike Center

Paved pathway may be first step to development on 23-acre site; trustees to revisit possibilities at future board meeting

El Camino School in the Goleta Union School District could get some new neighbors should the Santa Barbara Unified School District move forward with a housing project proposed for the property it owns next door to the campus at 5020 San Simeon Drive.

Architect Detty Peikert told the Santa Barbara district's trustees last week that a senior housing project would have the fewest traffic impacts on the neighborhood north of Hollister Avenue and the Turnpike Center, SBUSD facilities director Dave Hetyonk said.

It was a conceptual presentation at Tuesday’s board meeting so no decisions were made about the future of the 23-acre, so-called Tatum property.

Trustees asked for more information to be presented at a future board meeting, district spokeswoman Barbara Keyani said.

Hetyonk said the board also was interested in a request-for-proposals process to see what prospective developers might envision for the property.

Housing projects have been considered in previous feasibility studies of the Tatum property, but the proposals never went anywhere — including one that would build residences for school district teachers and employees.

The district is pursuing a pathway improvement project through the property since many El Camino and San Marcos High School students and families have worn down a dirt trail on it. The property runs between San Simeon Drive and South San Marcos Road on the west to San Simeon Drive behind the Turnpike Center on the east.

There have been homeless encampments on the property as well, which is why signs instruct people to stay out of the area after sunset.

Design drawings for a paved pathway will come before the trustees in January, Hetyonk said.

Santa Barbara County proposed the pathway project, and it has since been approved by the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments and Measure A committee. The pathway plan doesn’t include lighting and is expected to cost about $330,000 of Safe Routes to School money.

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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