Proposed development at 6975 Santa Felicia Drive in Goleta.
Story poles outline the proposed medical office buildings at 6975 Santa Felicia Drive in Goleta. (Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo)

The Goleta City Council on Tuesday approved the development plan for new medical office buildings — which also will include a child care facility — at 6975 Santa Felicia Drive near the Camino Real Marketplace.

The project includes a pair of two-story, 18,600-square-foot medical office buildings — for a total of 37,200 square feet — with a child care facility, located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Santa Felicia Drive and Storke Road.

The project site is adjacent to Ice in Paradise and Santa Barbara County Fire Department Station 11.

“I don’t always get excited about development,” Councilman James Kyriaco said, “but this is a development I’m excited about.”

In order to approve the development plan, the council needed to approve some amendments to the Camino Real Specific Plan and Development Plan, and rezone the parcel.

When Camino Real Marketplace was first being developed, the location of the upcoming medical office buildings project was designated for a roller rink and an MTD transit center that were never built.

The roller rink was later developed at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, and the MTD transit center was determined to be no longer needed.

The specific plan amendment that the council approved removes those uses and plans from the Camino Real Specific Plan, while the development plan amendment removes the project site from the Camino Real Development Plan.

Residential uses are not allowed at the project location because it is within the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport Safety Zone 2, but the medical office buildings are allowed, according to city staff.

“For those of us that live out here (in western Goleta), I think you all know that we have to drive three, four exits down the freeway at a minimum, oftentimes in town, just for our medical needs — to see a doctor, a dentist, a wellness specialist like a nutritionist, or an acupuncturist,” said Kim Schizas, a project planner for the Wynmark Co. 

Schizas also mentioned the existing bus stop at the property’s boundary — which the developers will be improving — and that the project site is next to a fire station and Girsh Park, and is in walking distance of many residences, all of which making the medical office buildings accessible for residents.

“I think about the community benefit that we’re getting (with this project) and kind of returning to that community benefit of serving children and youth and the larger community,” Kyriaco said.

“What we’re getting now is the benefit of some higher-paying jobs, more accessible medical care for people in western Goleta … and then having child care for our workforce and families that are going to be coming to the area or already in the area can help mitigate some vehicle miles traveled and other impacts by putting childcare closer to where people live, work and play.”

Another project that previously had been proposed for the site was a gas station.

Goleta’s Design Review Board recommended approval for the Storke Medical Center plans in May, and the development will need approval from the Planning Commission.