Measure B Advocates Fire Back

Supporters of Measure B-the ballot initiative that would lower the maximum heights of new buildings allowed in Santa Barbara-disputed opponents’ claims that, if B passed, many of the city’s most iconic buildings could not be rebuilt without a popular vote should they be destroyed by natural disaster. Under existing city law, buildings that exceed the city’s current height limit of 60 feet cannot be rebuilt without a vote if they lose more than 75 percent of their value in a disaster. If B were to pass, that ordinance would apply to buildings more than 40 feet tall in El Pueblo Viejo and more than 45 feet elsewhere throughout the city. Mayor Marty Blum and Councilmember Dale Francisco-who is also running for mayor-announced they would introduce new ordinance language to delete the 75-percent requirement. Blum and Francisco support Measure B. But Brian Robinson-manager of the No on B campaign-said there’s no guarantee that the council has the five votes needed to change the ordinance, and the soonest such a change could take place is next year. In the meantime, he said, voters are being asked to approve a flawed measure. “Before, they said we were lying when we pointed this out. Now, two weeks before the election,” Robinson said, “they’re saying they’re going to fix it, but after the election. It’s ridiculous.”

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