Next Tuesday, June 14, in Council Chambers at 4 p.m., the fate of the last inland oak grove in the City of Santa Barbara will be decided. The grove, located on the Valle Verde campus, is connected via the Rutherford meadow to the Arroyo Burro watershed. Valle Verde has proposed building luxury housing on this site. We think one of the wealthiest housing developments in Santa Barbara has the resources to come up with a plan that meets their wants without sacrificing critical habitat. The environmental impact report process has been a sham, ignoring expert testimony and neighborhood outcry. We hope the City Council will find the courage to honor the civic process by demanding a development more sensitive to neighborhood and environmental need. ~Sherry Hall
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Who is safeguarding our last oak woodland in the City of Santa Barbara? Our city planners and commissioners have not protected the last intact oak woodland, and one of only two oak woodlands identified in the Conservation Element of Santa Barbara’s City Plan. Our city has given the developer the green light to build, even though the environmental impact report concluded that many of these units should not be built into this important oak hillside, as it required the removal of dozens of old growth oak trees and the destruction of acres of sensitive wildlife habitat, and builds parking lots over wildlife corridors and hiking trails. To add insult to injury, most of the hillside was required to be dedicated to the City of Santa Barbara 27 years ago as a condition of use, and the city failed to follow through. Now this same hillside, which should already be protected, will not be left undamaged. Shame on you Valle Verde.
On June 14th an appeal of the approval of the 40-home expansion of Valle Verde will be heard by the City Council. You can learn more at SaveHiddenValley.org.
Please lend your voice, to ask our City Council to do the right thing. ~Heike Kilian
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