Premature Congratulation

It’s a shame to have to disappoint The Independent, but the near-total agreement you thought you saw at the city hearing on June 22 does not exist [News, “Peace Threatens to Break Out in S.B. Growth Wars,” 7/1/10]. Many speakers at that hearing pointed out problems, some of them very serious, with the present draft.

For example, the League of Women Voters opposed the proposal to increase the density downtown to 27 to 45 units per acre, from the current 15 to 27 units per acre. The League pointed out that the current 15 to 27 units/acre, with all the added bonus densities and modifications that the city permits, allowed Chapala One to be built. Everyone agrees that project was much too big. Even with some smaller-sized units, there may be only a little decrease in size because many large, expensive units will be needed to support the 25-percent workforce, medium-priced housing that the plan requires.

There were major questions raised about where increased density should go: on the most expensive land downtown, or elsewhere on less expensive property to hold the market-rate unit prices down?

Several speakers were seriously concerned about the effect on neighborhoods of relaxing the standards for building second units.

The League supports much of Plan Santa Barbara, but there are these few points on which we strongly disagree. More compromise is needed before Plan Santa Barbara is approved. As it is now being proposed, the plan will allow too much development too fast for the city’s available resources. We have always supported the city’s living within its resources, as the City Charter requires.—Connie Hanna, First Vice President, Santa Barbara League of Women Voters

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