by Martha Sadler

On the first day of hearings on an environmental analysis of
Goleta’s Draft General Plan, the most consistent message from
citizens was that they need more time to study it, despite already
being allotted more than the 30-day legal requisite. The lone woman
saying she had plenty of time to read the report did not represent
any group. According to City Councilmember Jack Hawxhurst, the
discrepancy can be explained by the fact that representatives from
development companies and affordable housing groups hope to stall
until after the November elections, when the remaining three city
councilmembers — Hawxhurst, Cynthia Brock, and Margaret Connell —
will have completed their first terms. Critics object to the city’s
current policy, reflected in the draft plan, of preserving
agricultural land from development and requiring 55 percent of
units in any new housing project along a key stretch of Hollister
Avenue to be affordable. Many affordable housing advocates consider
this a ruse to discourage developers from building any housing,
while appearing to satisfy state housing mandates. Public comment
on the Environmental Impact Report may be offered through July


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