During a relatively painless one-hour discussion this week, the Goleta City Council gave a stamp of approval to Michael Towbes and his Towbes Group to build a new Montecito Bank & Trust branch on the now-empty northwest corner of Storke and Hollister roads. The council unanimously approved seven different resolutions for the project including a zoning change (the site, at one of the city’s busiest intersections, was previously occupied by a 44-year-old gas station demolished in 2008), lot line adjustment, and development plan.
Assistant City Planner Shine Ling walked councilmembers through the project’s details, explaining there was a large amount of soil and groundwater contamination at the site left over from its days as a gas station, but it’s been properly cleaned out. Ling said the property, which sites adjacent to the Storke-Hollister Research Center at 6590 Hollister Avenue (both pieces of land are owned by Nassau Land Company), will feature a one-story, 6,018-square-foot structure that’ll be occupied by the bank and another office tenant. It’s architecture, said Ling, will match the horizontal, low-slung style of the buildings around it. The lot itself will include 27 parking spaces.
The bank will also feature two drive-thru teller lanes. A few councilmembers expressed concern that the drive-thrus — and the bank itself — would increase traffic too much in an already busy intersection, but staff assured them that the area could handle what is expected to be only a minimal influx of cars. Ling stressed that the project was a good one as it would put a nice-looking building at one of the main gateways to the City of Goleta.
Michael Towbes closed things out by saying he wants to start construction as soon as possible — the bank would be the fifth Montecito Bank & Trust branch in Goleta — and thanked city staff for their time and diligence while working with him. Towbes also mentioned he was looking forward to making the building LEED certified, a stipulation spelled out in the project’s final approved plan.