Marge Cafarelli, developer of the Alma del Pueblo (which translates to “Soul of the City”) condos now going up at the corner of Chapala and Victoria streets, has filed an appeal to nullify the preliminary approval granted two weeks ago allowing Metropolitan Theatres to proceed with the 33-unit apartment complex — dubbed the Arlington Village — it hopes to build right next to the Arlington Theatre.
Cafarelli complained the rental development violates city zoning and aesthetic guidelines when it comes to traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, because all traffic would come in and out via an entrance on Chapala Street. When the Arlington Theatre books large shows requiring large equipment buses, she charged, the lot would be jammed, creating traffic havoc not just for the renters but for people moving into her condos as well. Likewise, Cafarelli objected the Arlington Village design failed to include adequate paseos for pedestrians, and she expressed concern that such foot traffic could clog the one existing paseo.
Detlev Peikert, architect for Metro’s rental project, expressed surprise that the appeal was filed, but said he’s already developed plans to include an additional entryway into the village via Sola Street that he’s hopeful will address Cafarelli’s concerns. He noted that Metropolitan Theatres books only 10 major events a year in which buses would become an issue and that a traffic management plan had been crafted to maintain an acceptable flow of vehicles. Even so, Peikert acknowledged, city planners had concerns of their own about the traffic plan — finding it, he said, “less than ideal” — but deemed it acceptable nonetheless.
Though Cafarelli’s appeal of the Historic Landmarks Commission’s preliminary approval forced some changes, Peikert said of the new design, “At the end of the day, it’s better for us.” Peikert has drawn up plans to build a new three-story structure standing 40 feet high with 33 rental units and two commercial storefronts. Cafarelli is currently marketing her 37 condos — built where Safeway and later Vons used to operate — for $850,000 to $2.6 million apiece. Five of the units are reserved for middle-income earners, meaning couples who make less than $90,000 a year. In addition, she’s leasing out 15 high-ceilinged stall spaces to what she’s dubbed the Santa Barbara Public Market, where organic and artisanal goods will be sold.