<b>EXPLAIN YOURSELF:</b>  Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss questioned the proposed ordinance.

Paul Wellman (file)

EXPLAIN YOURSELF: Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss questioned the proposed ordinance.

Development Near Freeway to be Curbed

New Homes Within 250 Feet of Highway 101 Will Be Restricted

Thursday, November 14, 2013
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New residential development within 250 feet of Highway 101 will be significantly restricted for the indefinite future if a new ordinance proposed by planners at Santa Barbara City Hall is adopted. This Tuesday, the City Council’s ordinance committee voted 3-0 to initiate the process of enacting such an ordinance. Driving the issue is concern by the state Air Resources Board that the exhaust particulates generated by diesel trucks can cause more than 10 additional cancers per 1 million residents. The state board has recommended a 500-foot buffer, as has the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District.

City planners insist that higher threshold was based on emissions generated from much wider freeways that get far more diesel truck traffic than Highway 101. The new rules will not apply to parcels of land buffered by sound walls or to industrial or commercial development. City planners estimate that 90 parcels could be affected. Remodels will be exempted if the new building footprint is less than 50 percent bigger than the existing structure. And if developers install filtration systems — or plant broad leafy trees that absorb the diesel particulates — city planners will consider their applications.

The new ordinance is designed only as an interim measure and will be abandoned if and when new diesel exhaust regulations curb carcinogenic emissions. “We’re saying there’s a line in the sand, but we just don’t know where it is?” asked Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss. The line, he was told, was 10 new cancer cases per 1 million residents.


Independent Discussion Guidelines


The progressive new testament on infill housing along transportation corridors was false.

Next they should see the physical and mental health effects on children who grow up in such environments.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 2:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Everyone knows that this amazing concern about poor, particulate-inhaling people housed near the freeway was just a NIMBY, no-growther ruse to limit housing for any reason during the Plan Santa Barbara General Plan Update process a few years ago.

Now the city staff have put forward this ordinance to show that they can salvage something, anything out of the stalemate that implementation of the General Plan has become and will remain until 2016 when Saloonkeeper Rowse is off the city council and five better deciders are there instead.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 7:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"High-density advocates seem most oblivious to the needs of children. Living in high-density restricts children’s physical activity, independent mobility and active play. Many studies find that child development, mental health and physical health are affected. They also find a likely association of high-rise living with behavioural problems."

Georgy (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 9:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Georgy is correct. Look at how people who live in big cities behave vs. rural areas per aggressive driving, rude behavior and so forth. Two dangerous trends happening in S.B. are too many people, and many people not having the ability to have a pet due to the fact that many rentals (and most people as far as I know rent) don't allow pets.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 12:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Totally agree, georgy and JA; and living on the 93101 Westside not so far from Micheltorena and San Andres: wow again, there sure are lots of "poor, particulate-inhaling people housed near the freeway" 101...lot closer than 500 feet. But then, who gives a flying sh**t about these workers, certainly not Frank Hotchkiss who questions even these tepid and temporary restrictions? [sarcasm for those who can't see it]

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 5:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's ironic to me that the city council spends so much money on the proposed gang injunction while at the same time spends community develop money for the physical environment that creates so many mental health problems.

Having access to parks and park maintenance would be money well spent to reduce crime and gang activity. The community development money should be going to parks and rec.

Like in the prison system, disconnecting people from nature and the outside world creates developmental dysfunction.

I don't have the data but Ill bet money that a majority of the gang kids in Santa Barbara live or grew up in high-density type apartment housing.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 9:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Where is the objectively gathered, supporting data people now residing in this zone, including many city housing authority projects and trailer parks are sicker than what would be expected?

Is SBHA going to go out of business now or demand all residents sign a hold harmless clauses with the city?

Where is the objectively gathered data that shows "plant a tree" is adequate mitigation for this newly found hazardous living condition? Does the fact the trees live indicate this zone may not be so toxic after all?

Example of the grotesque make-work out bloated city staff keeps cranking out since they have too much time on their hands. Need proof how you get to a nanny-state inch by inch. Look no further.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 2:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Georgy: I have raised the point as well about gang culture and overcrowding.

The "too many rats in the cage" syndrome is playing out in front of our eyes. I noticed back in '94 the big change in the number of vehicles on the road, and the transition from defensive, to offensive driving.

Once again look at rural lifestyle vs. city lifestyle and the answer becomes obvious. Of course the Utopianist new left (not to be confused with the old school liberals) are now gaga over their "high density" housing thing. Sheila Lodge had the backbone to come out against this, but perhaps she's one of the "old school" crowd.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, there is plenty of scientific evidence that living next to freeways and other roads with large amounts of traffic is bad for your health. In fact, the evidence shows that there are effects as far away as 1500 feet. But from my understanding, it appears as if the greatest effects are within the 500 foot buffer recommended by the California Air Resources Board. You are correct however that there is absolutely no evidence that sound walls or trees will mitigate the health effects of the traffic. That part is just the City staff trying to cut the baby in half. The whole point of that Biblical story is that nobody wins when you cut the baby in half and those who accept the bifurcation are usually just interested in everybody losing rather than anybody winning. Why don't bureaucrats ever seem to get that point?

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 9:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So are you talking eminent domain or micro-managing harassment?

The whole point of the biblical cut the baby in half was far wiser than you report. You forgot to tell the ending and honor the wisdom of Solomon

Additionally, when confronted with the Greek myth of Gordian knot no one could untie, the hero took out his sword and did cut it in half and thus ended the insoluble dilemma.

And Life went on. And people continue live by freeways, charcoal their steaks, burn pellets in their stoves, use hairspray and smoke pot.

But we digress. Back to the original questions:

Are we talking about a governmental taking by eminent domain of those residential properties arbitrarily now designated as located in a toxic hazard zone?

Or, are we talking arbitrary micro-managing harassment by government authorities?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 10:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

At least I now have the irrefutable evidence that sleeping with the bed bugs in the rescue mission might bring me in contact with some hazardous diesel fumes.... No wonder the beach is littered with blankets and cardboard every morning! Wouldn't you rather risk a citation rather than surely getting the lung cancer?

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 10:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Where will it all end: BMJ posts WHO study traffic noise is a health hazard. There goes the smart-growth mandate to put more stack and pack housing next to transportation corridors.

Point being when a city like Santa Barbara has $400 million in unfunded liabilities right now, it needs to get out of the micro-managing and harassment business, leave people alone to make their own decisions, and start solving the problems they alone created for themselves on their own watch.

BMJ:WHO report
"Traffic related noise accounts for over one million healthy years of life lost annually to ill health, disability, or early death in western Europe, according to a new World Health Organization report.

The study finds that among environmental factors contributing to disease in Europe, environmental noise leads to a disease burden that is only second in magnitude to that from air pollution. Noise pollution causes or contributes to not only annoyance and sleep disturbance but also heart attacks, learning disabilities, and tinnitus."

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 10:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, I am not convinced that science means anything to you, but you should check out this link if it does:
The science indicates that children and elderly folks should not live near any road with high volumes of traffic. In fact children who live near roads with high volumes of traffic can experience permanent diminished lung capacity. Do you really think we should ignore that kind data just to protect someone's rights to develop their property?

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 8:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To be the Devil's Advocate as cars continue to get better milage and with electric cars on the rise today's figures may be a moot point tomorrow.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 9:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Billclausen: It seems to me sometime in the late 1980's and early 1990's is when the shift came from the left. It used to be the Pearl Chase crowd and the early environmentalists worked to protect Santa Barbara from what was happening in Los Angeles. Limiting development was considered good for public health and protecting the environment protected childrens development. Kids could ride their bike anywhere, and most kids walked or rode their bike to school. It was safe. The public was protected from most density developments like the 9 story apartments proposed at Alice Keck park.
I think what happened was the California Builders Association (CBIA) took over the democratic party at the State level and forced unwanted developments onto Santa Barbara via the beefed up housing elements. When Santa Barbara ran out of space they were forced to build upward to satisfy these draconian State housing element developments. Currently State Sen. Darrell Steinberg and the CBIA have forged an unholy financial alliance to keep the corruption going. Darrell Steinberg collects millions from all the special interests who benefit from these developments. They don't care about the families or children who grow up in these environments, they know as long as they have access to expensive real estate markets they will profit.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
November 17, 2013 at 1:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eckerman, you miss the point.

People can choose their poisons, not have them forced on them or taken away from them by executive fiat on such a whim as you just presented, It is their responsibility to choose or not choose to live within what you now claim to be a danger zone, but they may not.

Drive up 101 and see how many people are now officially living in this toxic zone, but you have not provided anything other than some theoretical potential and emotionally extortive justification for this land taking.

"Do you want to kill granny" is really beneath you for an argument, is it not when so many seniors now already live in or near this zone, if you stretch it out to 500 feet.

I see the concept of an overly regulated nanny-state has no meaning to you. What I see is a city department with way too much time on their hands and it is time to eliminate them because they are now reduced to just annoying make-work.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 17, 2013 at 6:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA) issued this science-based report in 2010:

"Recent air pollution studies have shown an association between respiratory and other non-cancer health effects and proximity to high traffic roadways. Other studies have shown that diesel exhaust and other cancer-causing chemicals emitted from cars and trucks are responsible for much of the overall cancer risk from airborne toxics in California."

The report recommends a 500-foot buffer between freeways and new residential development.

I agree with previous comments which said there is no evidence a sound wall protects us from freeway air pollution. The City should follow the state's lead and impose a 500-foot buffer.

goleta43 (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You've gotta be kidding me, this isn't freaking Riverside!!

We live on the coast, there is a nice ocean breeze that comes through 360 days a year and sweeps the almost non-existent pollution out of SB.

We have one small strip of freeway going through this town 3 lanes long with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. The last thing we need is bureaucrats from the city telling us where we can build our homes.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 4:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

agree goleta43: Santa Barbara City should follow the state's lead and impose a 500-foot buffer, or even 800. We do need more bureaucrats with a heart telling us where some of us canNOT build our high-density housing.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 6:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why not 1000 while you're at it? Oh, and where do you plan to put the high density housing you so desperately crave? Maybe the upper east side, Montecito, maybe bulldoze the Mission?

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 6:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Photo caption: "An angry Frank Hotckiss after being sent to his room and being told he couldn't come out all day".

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 7:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I guess nowadays finding a line in the sand is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 8:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

aw, Frank's always angry or perturbed, he need a swim with the pod.
Botany, YES, let's put some dense housing right in there in SanRoque, upper Eastside, Mission Cyn....that's a fine idea, didn't know you were so liberal!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 19, 2013 at 9:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan, you are a doctor, I think, you have to be a smart person at some level.. Why do you think pollution is a problem at all in Santa Barbara?? I'm all for reducing car pollution for many reasons, but this is the last place you have to worry about breathing the air. Trust me, I have asthma, the air here is pretty fantastic. Don't you see this is a one-size fits all cookie cutter regulation that doesn't make any sense what-so-ever in Santa Barbara???

I've lived on Castillo before for a long time and would have no problem living there again. Pretty sure two of my other places were well within 500 feet of the freeway and I sure as hell was glad to live there. If you don't want to live near the freeway then don't, but leave everybody else alone.

In fact, standing right on the freeway most days the pollution level is much lower than anywhere in the City of LA no matter how close or far away you are to the freeway.. Just fly over any city some time and look at it, and compare what that looks like to our city. We have plants and trees everywhere and barely any traffic at all in comparison. Worrying about air pollution just seems completely insane to me. The other thing is people like living near the freeway - as long as there is some noise buffer being close to the freeway means a shorter commute.

This is why I have such a huge problem with government telling everybody what to do - you have good intentions and you are still making completely irrational decisions for everybody else. Why would I want to give anybody that power, especially when it is so easy to pay off politicians and have them do things that we know will hurt society like going to war? Then when they want to help they tell us where we can and can't build our houses?? Really?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
November 19, 2013 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I am not a medical doctor {PhD, rater}, but plenty of them lack practical intelligence. I have often viewed the smog and pollution over our area from atop local coastal peaks; do not agree the pollution levels are low at all...higher particulate matter near the freeways, it's measured, & I do want and trust government to forcibly lower the levels.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 19, 2013 at 10:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's some empirical data to support that assertion Dan.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 19, 2013 at 11:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

But the data from your site, Botany, is heavily contradicted by the highly scientific data from CAPCOA [go check it out at ]. I am confident that YOU do not live near the 101, and am glad you don't have to breathe this sh**t, I really am, and that your children don't. When I see the high density housing at Micheltorena/San Andres (close to Rail Road, near where I live], and all the children there.... I want better air for them. Don't you?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 19, 2013 at 11:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan, does the link you provide have any data about Santa Barbara?? I didn't see any, Botany's link had data about Santa Barbara.

The amount of pollution is highly dependent on geological features as well as surrounding urban density. We have ZERO surrounding urban density, we are surrounded by oceans and forest.. We are a small strip of land right on the coast. We are in an ideal location for having excellent air quality.

I have a hard time believing that what you are seeing is smog, we do get haze on occasion but that is not smog.

I imagine maybe 5 days a year when there is a really high pressure system sitting over us and we have almost no winds for a couple of days, it is nice and warm and there are a lot of tourists there may be some measurable amount of air pollution right by the freeway, otherwise the air here is very, very good. We do not need any restrictions on housing.

Also, this has nothing to do with restricting air pollution, this has to do with restricting where people build their houses.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
November 19, 2013 at 11:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dan, make up your mind if you want to talk about apples or oranges. You claimed the pollution levels in SB are bad, I gave you data specific to SB. Then you respond with this generic data that is only applies to the state as a whole. If you want to argue pollution levels in SB, let's do it. If you want to argue state policy, let's do it. But don't obfuscate the issue by responding to data about apples with data about oranges.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 19, 2013 at 11:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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