Architects are divided on Measure B, which aims at lowering building heights from 60 feet to 40 feet in El Pueblo Viejo, and from 60 feet to 45 feet elsewhere. Those opposed claim Measure B will limit design creativity, increase our carbon footprint, cause urban sprawl, and preclude rebuilding tall buildings damaged after an earthquake.
Santa Barbara Architects in favor support Measure B for the following reasons:
Does not alter the design and development review process, or the appeal process by which projects are approved.
Ensures that new buildings remain compatible with the scale of the City’s historic El Pueblo Viejo.
Empowers Santa Barbara voters, not special interests, to decide what kind of community they want.
Changes the charter without altering the General Plan in terms of land use, open space, population density, growth, parking, and traffic circulation.
Supports sustainability, reduces environmental impact, reduces water use and sanitary waste, enables Santa Barbara to live within its resources.
Reduces our carbon footprint by using less material to build, and less energy to heat and cool than taller buildings.
Supports affordable housing in the urban core, where low-income and middle-income couples and families can live close to their workplaces and transportation.
Supports social and cultural diversity: Low-rise buildings promote more social interaction, are more personal and neighborhood-friendly than larger buildings.
Does not alter the ratio between capital investment and economic return of any one project; it just reduces the equation.
Smaller buildings are better suited to small business, which is still the backbone of our local economy, rather than chain stores, “big boxes,” and luxury condominiums.
The magnitude of earthquake forces in smaller buildings is less. This reduces structural cost, fire and life safety risk, damage loss and repair cost, and down time resulting from an earthquake damage.
Taller buildings cast longer shadows, increasing the number of hours public spaces are in shade and shadow; they block solar access to lower rooftops on adjacent property where solar panels might otherwise be installed.
Creativity does not depend on how big a project is but how well an architect responds to design constraints. Measure B challenges architects to be more creative.
Whether projects are large or small, Measure B challenges Architects to balance the needs of their clients with those of the community.
Santa Barbara Architects for Measure B stand for what they believe to be in the best interest of their community, independent of special interests. – Gil Barry, Tom Bollay, Bob Grant, Deming Isaacson, Bill Lavoie, Mary O’Toole, Bill Mahan, Sal Melendez, Scott Rowland, Don Sharpe, Hugh Twibell, Larry Thompson, John Watson, Ernie Watson, Howard Wittausch, Jim Zimmerman