The ranks of the coalition’s growing membership include city founders, retired public officials, neighborhood activists, builders, educators, farmers, and community volunteers. Coalition chairperson Bob Wignot said “The City of Goleta’s General Plan was developed with great input from Goleta residents who specifically advocated for the policies in the General Plan to protect and preserve open space and urban ag lands.” He continued, “We have formed to make sure that the will of the people is upheld and that Goleta agriculture is defended.”
The Goodland Coalition’s primary objective is to urge the Goleta City Council to deny an application for a General Plan amendment that would lead to rezoning of the Bishop Ranch from agriculture to urban mixed use. The developer Bishop Ranch 2000, LLC of Encino, California, has submitted a conceptual plan calling for 1,200 houses, a commercial shopping area and other infrastructure to go on the property.
The 240 acre Bishop Ranch lies between Highway 101 and Cathedral Oaks Road, bounded on the east by Carneros Creek and on the west by Glen Annie Road. It is the largest open space within the City of Goleta and offers acres of prime farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic vistas.
In the City’s General Plan, there is no need identified that requires the rezoning of land zoned for urban agriculture in order to develop residential units. At this point, over 1,700 new units have been approved or are under construction in Goleta, and additional land is already zoned for even more residential units to be constructed. The Goodland Coalition supports the preservation of agricultural zoning for the Bishop Ranch for the foreseeable future, and has engaged the Environmental Defense Center to provide legal advocacy on its behalf.
Wignot said “Goletans need to stand up and be heard” at the public hearing on the Bishop Ranch development application, to be held on September 20, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B, in Goleta. Interested community members can also email comments to the City Clerk DConstantino@CityofGoleta.org. The Goodland Coalition may be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org.