A map of Santa Barbara County’s Calle Real Campus and proposed changes in the master plan.
A map of Santa Barbara County’s Calle Real Campus and proposed changes in the master plan. (Santa Barbara County photo)

A public meeting Wednesday will begin the required environmental review process for Santa Barbara County’s Calle Real Campus Master Plan, which details the long-term vision for development at Calle Real over the next 20 years.

The estimated $403 million plan was approved by the Board of Supervisors in September 2022.

The Calle Real Campus consists of approximately 782,000 gross square feet of county facilities on about 323 acres between Hollister Avenue, south of Highway 101, and an area just north of Cathedral Oaks Road.

According to the plan’s initial study, 14 county departments have facilities on the campus — as well as some noncounty organizations — with a total of 103 buildings at the site.

The campus is divided into five smaller areas — the Public Safety Campus, County Yards Campus, Health and Government Center Campus, Jail Campus and the Community Services Campus.

County spokeswoman Kelsey Gerckens Buttitta said in a recent news release that many of the buildings are underutilized and past their useful site life.

The master plan also states that almost half of the facilities are more than 30 years old and nearly a quarter of them are in “fair to poor condition.”

It adds that much of the space, particularly county office space, can be utilized more efficiently.

Some of the main goals of the Calle Real Campus Master Plan include eliminating these buildings beyond their useful life, streamlining services by recognizing departmental synergies, maximizing vacant space, and identifying possible workforce and affordable housing opportunities.

“The master plan represents both the culmination of a year-long planning process and the starting point for the future development of the campus into a destination where county residents, communities, employees and regional visitors can be safe, healthy and prosperous,” the webpage for the master plan says.

“It reinforces the county’s mission to ensure its physical assets support the highest possible service delivery and reflect its underlying ethics.”

According to the initial study, projects within the master plan will demolish, renovate and construct new buildings — with demolition of buildings totaling 306,300 square feet, renovation of buildings totaling 229,000 square feet, and construction of new buildings or building expansions totaling 538,800 square feet.

Total construction is estimated to cost $403 million in 2022 dollars.

More specific information on the proposed projects and plans can be found in the initial study and in the Calle Real Campus Master Plan.

For the environmental review process, the county has partnered with an Irvine-based environmental consultant, UltraSystems Environmental.

An initial study — which analyzes the master plan to determine any potentially significant impacts on the environment resulting from the construction and implementation of the projects in the plan — and a notice of preparation, which is required to inform the public and governmental agencies that an environmental impact report will be prepared, have been prepared for the public to review.

The environmental impact review process is required by the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, and will address short-term and long-term effects of the proposed projects on the environment.

Mitigation measures also will be proposed for impacts that are determined to be potentially significant.

Project construction could start as early as April 2026 and last through December 2050, the initial study adds.

The public hearing to inform people about the master plan is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the county’s Employee University, at 267 Camino Del Remedio in Santa Barbara. Click here to register to join the virtual meeting.

Community members can provide public comment through Dec. 8 by emailing aellis@countyofsb.com with the subject line “Public Comment: Calle Real Master Plan Program EIR – Submitted XX/XX/2023.

Comments also can be mailed to senior project manager Ashton Ellis, County of Santa Barbara, 1105 Santa Barbara St., Courthouse East Wing, Second Floor, Santa Barbara 93101, or hand delivered to the Clerk of the Board on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.

Click here to view the initial study, notice of preparation and the Calle Real Campus Master Plan Report on the county’s website.