New Developments

Four years, six lead planners, and seven Board of Architectural Review meetings later, County Supervisors approved a residential development on about six acres of land formerly zoned for agriculture. Over continuing objections from some neighbors, six single-story homes will be built at 1118 North Patterson Avenue. The approval carries the condition that they not be converted later to two-story units.

With a unanimous 12-0 vote, the California Coastal Commission delivered the second brutalif not fatalblow against BHP Billiton’s proposed Cabrillo Port liquefied natural gas facility, three days after the State Lands Commission (SLC) rejected the plan based on environmental concerns. Though the $800-million project is still alive, it would take a legal challenge against the SLC ruling to move it forward.

North County may gain up to 7,000 homes in the coming years if the North Hills planned community project goes through. Developer Randy Wheeler is currently surveying 4,000 acres of potential land, as well as community opinion. Only 1,000 acres will be dedicated to residential and commercial purposes, while the rest will remain open space. Currently owned by a subsidiary of BreitBurn Energy, the site, if approved, may feature apartments and affordable housing.

Tenants of the New Faulding Hotel met with a public health official on 4/12 to discuss the possibility of banning smoking in the building. The New Faulding is owned by the Santa Barbara Community Housing Corporationa nonprofit operator that provides affordable housing for low-income residents in Santa Barbara. Residents plan to take their plea to the City Council in hopes of implementing a non-smoking policy in a constitution for nonprofits.

The Goleta City Council opted to “fast-track” a dozen amendments to its General Plan over strong objections from citizens favoring the original document. Adopted shortly before the council that crafted it was largely replaced, the original plan is now subject to a council majority far friendlier to new commercial and residential development. An amendment that would pave the way for a new “big box” commercial center is among those that the city staff will study to determine what degree of environmental analysis it would trigger.

A 200-unit apartment complex in Goleta at what is now Sumida Gardensis closer to realization since the City Council voted to eliminate the General Plan requirement that five percent of new apartments be affordable to low- and very-low-income residents. Developer Michael Towbes said the apartments, in the 5500 block of Overpass Road, will target people earning 120 percent of the median income.

In a 4-3 vote, the Santa Barbara City Council greenlighted a three-story, 6,000-square-foot house in the 1500 block of West Valerio Street. While three councilmembers felt the proposed home was too big for the neighborhood, the majority was persuaded that the house was situated so as to minimize its visual impact. The project had been in the review process since 1999 and was approved by the city’s Planning Commission. A neighborhood activist who collected signatures to defeat the project took the matter to the City Council. It was the sixth such appeal in recent months.

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