With less than two months to the final deadline, there’s still
no sign of construction on lower State Street, where developer Bill
Levy has proposed building 65 Ritz-Carlton time-share condos. Santa
Barbara Community Development Director Paul Casey said he stopped
calling Levy for updates some time ago, but representatives from
Melchiori Construction visited his office two weeks ago and said
construction would commence shortly; nothing has happened since.
Calls to Melchiori went unanswered. Levy has until December 12 to
begin construction. No further extensions can be legally given. “I
don’t think there’s anyone on the council who feels like giving
Bill another chance. He’s hit the end of the road,” said City
Councilmember Roger Horton.

The Goleta Visioning Committee rejected a minority report from
two of its members who took exception to the housing policies
favored by the other 10 members of the group. Eva Inbar and Mike S.
Brown were instead offered the option of not signing the Vision
Document. At a Friday meeting, which the two dissenting members did
not attend, the rest of the committee drastically revised the
minority report and sent it to the dissenters along with the
message, “Take it or leave it.” As originally written, the report
objected that the Vision Document fails to include compact
mixed-use housing developments for middle- and lower-income

Cottage Hospital’s plans to build a major affordable housing
development at the St. Francis Hospital site were appealed to the
City Council by neighborhood activists. The appeal – filed by the
Bungalow Haven Neighborhood Association, the Upper East
Association, and the Lower Riviera Neighbors Association – contends
that the environmental analysis failed to adequately address the
proposed project’s effects on traffic, health risks, and historical
resources. Further, it contends the Planning Commission did not
give proper consideration to a smaller 88-unit project identified
as the “environmentally superior alternative.” The appeal will be
heard by the council on Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

A $55 million plan to build a new airport terminal ran into
turbulence Tuesday as some Santa Barbara City Councilmembers
objected to the project on the grounds that it wasn’t nearly green
enough. Councilmembers Das Williams and Brian Barnwell argued the
building needed to be oriented to maximize solar exposure, and
solar panels needed to be installed, regardless of the red-tile
roofs. Councilmember Helene Schneider worried the new plans were
not designed to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs, who are
currently forklifted onto planes.

The county supervisors directed their staff to draft green
architectural guidelines for all new county buildings, most of
which are expected to be built in North County. The General
Services Department showed how energy costs at two new buildings
were more than halved by the use of natural sunlight, geothermal
heating, and other energy-saving technology. But at a third
building, called Casa Nueva, energy use exceeded the county
average. General Services staff were directed to study this
problem, and suspect that county employees are taping over the
movement-sensor lighting – which turns off if room occupants fail
to move about – and are bypassing the automatic temperature

The 17 remaining residents of the Cedarwood Apartments and a few
who already moved have a Superior Court date in late October to
fight their evictions from the Isla Vista complex that Conquest
Student Housing wants to refurbish as luxury student housing. UCSB
student activists and distraught tenants again converged on the
county’s Board of Supervisors, urging it to halt the evictions and
create local ordinances to staunch the displacement of working
families from the South County. Student legislators claim to have
registered 4,000 students to vote based on the evictions. County
Counsel Shane Stark welcomed legal aid in developing a theory that
would allow the county to intervene.


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