by Martha Sadler

On the first day of hearings on an environmental analysis of Goleta’s Draft General Plan, the most consistent message from citizens was that they need more time to study it, despite already being allotted more than the 30-day legal requisite. The lone woman saying she had plenty of time to read the report did not represent any group. According to City Councilmember Jack Hawxhurst, the discrepancy can be explained by the fact that representatives from development companies and affordable housing groups hope to stall until after the November elections, when the remaining three city councilmembers — Hawxhurst, Cynthia Brock, and Margaret Connell — will have completed their first terms. Critics object to the city’s current policy, reflected in the draft plan, of preserving agricultural land from development and requiring 55 percent of units in any new housing project along a key stretch of Hollister Avenue to be affordable. Many affordable housing advocates consider this a ruse to discourage developers from building any housing, while appearing to satisfy state housing mandates. Public comment on the Environmental Impact Report may be offered through July 18.

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