Sheila Lodge, Santa Barbara City planning commissioner and former mayor, has suggested a new wrinkle in the ongoing debate over a ballot measure designed to reduce the maximum allowable building height from 60 feet to 40 feet downtown and 45 feet throughout the rest of the city. Rather than have City Hall place a competitive measure on the ballot this November-it would set the limit at 45 feet throughout town and allow exemptions for affordable housing and increased setbacks-Lodge suggested placing a complementary measure on the ballot. Speaking at a joint meeting of the Planning Commission and City Council, Lodge argued that voters should be allowed to vote up-or-down on the changes to the height limits for which Save El Pueblo Viejo collected signatures. She suggested that another measure could be placed on the ballot that would allow for exemptions, but only if the proposed height restrictions were approved. The idea will go to the council’s Ordinance Committee in early March.


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