An impressive coalition of advocates, planners, and politicians left and right gathered in front of City Hall on Wednesday to announce their support of Measure Y, which would approve a bridge crossing over Las Positas Road from Elings Park to near the entrance of Hendry’s Beach.
The proposal has inspired an unlikely truce between pro-development forces and environmentalists. Former mayor and staunch liberal Marty Blum opened up the conference that included testimonials from right-leaning speakers like City Councilmember Dale Francisco and former councilmember Dan Secord, who said he supported an earlier version of the same project 25 years ago when his hair was full.
Jeff Gorrell, an architect who lives in Bel Air Knolls off of Las Positas said, “I cringe every time [my kids] go to Hendry’s Beach and cross Las Positas Road.” Parks Commissioner Scott Burns said that the passage of Measure Y would result in developer Mark Lee — whom Chamber of Commerce President Steve Cushman called “the most patient man in Santa Barbara County” — donating park land to the city that it can’t currently afford.
The central message, however, was that Measure Y will environmentally enhance the area around the intersection of Las Positas Road and Cliff Drive. The Yes on Y campaign literature sells the ballot initiative as a creek restoration project, and the eroding banks of Arroyo Burro Creek would be rehabilitated. The purpose of the bridge, though, is to provide an entrance to a development of single-family homes called Veronica Meadows. Because the bridge would cross over public park land, voters must approve the use of that land for private development.
Developer Mark Lee, who attended but did not speak at the conference, said afterward that “any true environmentalist would support this project.”