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Posted on November 21 at 11:59 a.m.
Commenting on my own behalf as part-owner of this land and as a proud UCSB alum (1973), the County did its due diligence on the property, in spades, over a three year period. A 12 unit development was approved in 2007, without protest by these very same adjoining property owners. This new 16 unit project features extensive grassland mitigation at a six acre site at UCSB, and plans for improvements to lower San Antonio Creek Road to improve emergency egress. With a single exception, no Native American artifacts have been found on the site despite years of investigation. One grinding rock was found and is to be preserved. No endangered plant or animal species has been found on site despite extensive investigation by the County biologist. The project will also remove this fire prone field from Park Highlands. This lawsuit is an exercise in appearances and is not based on true environmentalism. True environmentalism seeks to preserve rare and endangered plant and animal species, wildlife corridors, and habitats. Bogus environmentalism, at its worst, is that which seeks to use the environmental movement for other purposes, in this case so that aa small group of adjoining property owners can maintain “their” open space (please see the front page photo in the News Press of Monday November 19th). Insincere environmentalism is not something the Goleta and Santa Barbara communities should passive condone. The bringers of this lawsuit have “gone for broke” and decided to see whether they can preserve this land next to which they’ve lived for over 30 years as their private open space, regardless of the financial injury caused to others who are honest brokers and community minded citizens. And in my opinion they overlook their own best interests and disregard those of wider community in which they live. County staff put in hundreds of hours of investigation of the site. The developer’s project meets and exceeds County Fire’s standards, and provides (even overcompensates) with extensive grassland mitigation through the gracious invitation of CCBER. The bringers of this lawsuit have a hope – and I pray it is a vain one – that a sympathetic judge will rule for an EIR, which will guarantee them at least two years more to enjoy “their” parkland. When it comes to hypocrisy these “environmentalists” are second to none, claiming to be concerned about the environment, fire safety and Native American artifacts when it comes to someone else’s land, but smugly self-satisfied as they live in their adjacent luxurious homes which sit on the very same large parcel of land. I hope such hypocritical and unjust actions result in abject failure, and that a clear seeing and fair judge will not be deceived by their false presentations. I salute the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for making the right decision to deny their appeal this past October. – Steven Zeluck, San Francisco
On Park Hills Development Challenged