Owners of the Californian Hotel were given a clean-it-up-or-else note from Santa Barbara City Hall, which had dispatched a team of inspectors from multiple departments a couple weeks ago to the dilapidated four-story structure located at the bottom of State Street. The Californian has been closed since 1999 for seismic safety reasons, but has been allowed to remain standing because of the hope and expectation that it would soon become the centerpiece of a private redevelopment effort involving nearly three city blocks. While those schemes have floundered due to financial considerations, the Californian has gotten steadily worse. Inspectors found evidence of human habitation, pigeons, and significant water damage to the hotel. City Hall is demanding that the owners, Mountain Funding, devote considerable resources to maintain the property and to make the surrounding area less of an eyesore. Mountain Funding has proposed major changes to the plans to build time-share condos in the area, previously approved by City Hall in 2001. They claim the changes will make the project more economically feasible as well as less environmentally obtrusive. But skeptics, both inside and outside City Hall, have expressed concern that given market realities, nothing will be built, no matter what changes get approved.


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