The Santa Barbara City Council executed a drastic about-face
Tuesday night, voting in concept to allow developer Mark Lee to
build up to 26 units on vacant land running along Las Positas Road
across from Elings Park, rather than the 15 units the
councilmembers had insisted upon this March. This dramatic change
of heart was inspired by the turnout of many Alan Road
residents — about 27 — who opposed Lee’s proposed entrance right up
their street. Lee had initially won the hearts and minds of Alan
Road residents by promising to leave them alone and build a new
entrance bridge across Las Positas Creek into his Veronica Meadows
development. But in March, the council voted to reject the bridge
entrance because environmentalists argued the bridge footings would
impede the travel of critters along the creek. But when Lee
returned to the council with what they had said they wanted — a
smaller project going through Alan Road — five councilmembers
concluded that they didn’t really like it that much. In fact, they
said they liked Lee’s previous proposal — with its more ambitious
creek restoration plans and traffic improvements — much better.
Only Councilmembers Das Williams and Helene Schneider held out,
arguing that both of Lee’s proposals were just too big. Lee, who
has expressed much pain and anguish during his many years in the
city’s review process, actually wound up with a few more units than
the 23 he proposed earlier this year. That’s because Mayor Marty
Blum and Councilmember Grant House said they wanted to see a few
affordable units. At one point, Lee had offered to include two
middle-income duplexes.


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