A draft environmental report for a new senior center and meeting place at the eastern gateway to Old Town Orcutt has identified a previously proposed site as the preferred home for the project.
Orcutt Area Seniors in Service (OASIS) wants to construct a permanent facility to continue housing assorted community activities now held in portable buildings on Soares Avenue. That land belongs to the Orcutt Union School District, which has plans for future use of the property.
The public comment period for the proposed project’s draft environmental impact report will remain open until Oct. 21.
Additionally, a public hearing to accept comments on the draft EIR has been set for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Betteravia Government Center, 511 Lakeside Parkway in Santa Maria.
The OASIS proposal includes a 14,069-square-foot main building with a design described as an “elegant barn” and a 1,592-square-foot barbecue/crafts building on five acres north of Clark Avenue and south of Southpoint Estates.
A driveway for OASIS would be placed on Foxenwood Lane, and would be shared with an approved, but not yet built, project planned at the corner of Foxenwood Lane and Clark Avenue.
In addition to the original project, the draft EIR also studied nine alternatives, ranging from no project to a previously proposed site at 400 W. Foster Road.
The latter option, referred to as Alternative No. 9, “is considered the environmentally superior alternative,” according to the draft EIR.
This option “would avoid several impacts that were noted as significant and unavoidable (Class I) for the proposed project at Key Site18,” the report added.
The original proposal would cause project specific and cumulative aesthetic visual impacts, project specific and biological impacts, project specific and cumulative recreation/loss of open space impacts, and cumulative traffic impacts, the draft report contends.
“This alternative would not result in any new significant, unavoidable impacts compared to the proposed project, nor would it increase the severity of the impacts identified for the proposed project,” the report added.
The 2.6 acres adjacent to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County sit among a 90.9-acre parcel owned by Santa Barbara County.
A mitigation negative declaration, previously approved by the City of Santa Maria, determined the Foster Road project would not result in any significant unavoidable impacts.
Potentially significant, or Class II, impacts identified for the Foster Road proposal would affect the California legless lizard, California red-legged frogs, California tiger salamanders and nesting birds from non-native tree removal, but could be mitigated.
“The site is level, immediately adjacent to a public road and existing utilities, greatly reducing the amount of necessary earthwork for site development and allowing the project to be served by two points of access (driveways) for improved circulation and emergency access,” the draft report says.
Unlike the Clark Avenue location, the Foster Road site also has been designated for development, instead of open space and parkland, the draft report noted.
In addition to the meeting center, the Foster Road project includes on-site parking, an indoor and outdoor recreational facility, outdoor patio, large dining room and outdoor areas for a bowling lawn and putting green.
In 2015, OASIS representatives said plans to lease land from the county for the Foster Road site fell through, leading to the current project on property donated to the organization.
A mitigated negative declaration for the project attracted substantial comments a few years ago, prompting the decision to conduct a full environmental analysis.
Comments about the draft EIR must be submitted by 5 p.m. Oct. 21.
Comments and questions can be emailed to Natasha Campbell of the Planning & Development Department at email@example.com.