Goleta’s businesses and outdoor entertainment centers can now legally put up shade structures beyond conventional umbrellas to allow them to do business outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Goleta City Council on Tuesday night voted 5-0 to allow entertainment centers, athletic facilities, faith-based organizations and other business to install larger shade tents.
Shade structures must conform to the maximum height and setbacks of the zoning for the area, and businesses must keep ADA parking spaces open and accessible for use.
Shade structures bigger than 700 square feet must secure all necessary building permits and Santa Barbara County Fire Department clearance before installation and use of the shade structure. If it’s in a parking area, shade structures must have “appropriate barricades around the shade structure to protect against vehicular intrusions into the outdoor use area.”
The City Council also voted to formally allow entertainment centers, which in Goleta is primarily Zodo’s at 5925 Calle Real, to operate outdoor dining and other activities.
City Manager Michelle Green issued an emergency order on Aug. 19, and Tuesday night’s vote formally allows entertainment centers to expand.
“If we are talking about Zodo’s, this is a significant part of Goleta that has been really important to a lot of folks over the years, even before it was Zodo’s,” Councilman James Kyriaco said. “That facility has been a very important part of Goleta’s past, present and hopefully its future, and I think anything we can do to put them on a level playing field with other similar types of businesses in Goleta that are able to provide food and beverage service I think is a good thing.”
Another entertainment center, Ice in Paradise at 6985 Santa Felicia Drive, is closed for now.
Mental Health Update
The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department Behavioral Sciences Unit, Mental Health Crisis Team gave a report to the Goleta City Council on Tuesday night.
Santa Barbara County averages five to eight mental health crisis calls per day. It takes about 1½ hours to resolve the call. The number of personnel who respond to call ranges from one to four.
People with mental health illnesses make up much of the population of the Santa Barbara County Jail. About 330 people have a serious mental illness, as of June 2019. Authorities arrested 230 people who had commited five or more crimes in 2018.
The county has launched a pilot program that pairs a mental health crisis worker with a trained sheriff’s deputy in an unmarked car and plain clothes to respond to de-escalate crisis situations, prevent injuries to individuals in crisis and link individuals who are experiencing psychiatric emergencies to appropriate services in the community.
According to data provided at the meeting, about 40 percent of mental health calls in the past three years have been in the Goleta area.