Ag Land Rezoning Resistance

In the interest of protecting our community food supply both now and in the future and preserving the health of our community, WE the undersigned people of SANTA BARBARA COUNTY want to preserve and protect the agriculture zoning restrictions of existing agricultural land throughout the Goleta Valley.

To this end, Santa Barbara County Supervisors and Goleta City Council members must NOT allow rezoning or development on existing Goleta Valley agricultural land.

Open letter to the Goleta Valley Planning Advisory Committee:

My name is Shelly Cobb. I took it upon myself about a year ago to start this petition, and now I am delivering it to you. Not that it will do any good now, but I do hope you will take the time to slowly and carefully read the 1200-plus names of the people who signed this petition and consider their written comments. Perhaps you will even see the names of friends, neighbors, and and local acquaintances that you know.

These are the people that today you betrayed and abandoned. These are the people who asked you to preserve our existing ag land in the Eastern Goleta Valley.

At the workshop today, I heard many ordinary friends and neighbors who live in the Eastern Goleta area vocalize their opposition to change in general, and specifically, rezoning farmland. After public comment, I was one of the few who stayed to listen to you, the GVPAC members, thinking that you were simply going to “discuss your views,” as you stated earlier during the day.

Suddenly, I was shocked and dismayed to hear you say that a vote would be taken! When was this decided or announced? I was there for the entire day and was totally caught off guard by this. Many of the people who left later told me they would have stayed, had they known a vote would be taken. I for one would have made sure that the press was there as well, had I known in advance.

As the Patterson ag-land owners looked on, I witnessed you, the GVPAC, vote very quickly 6-0 in favor of rezoning South Patterson ag land for non-agricultural uses in specific areas, with very little discussion or dissent.

And then again, with the Montessori Center School leaders looking on, I witnessed you, the GVPAC, vote 5-1 in favor of paving the way for the school to receive a conditional use permit for the 11-plus acres of ag land formerly belonging to the Lane family.

What has happened here today? What brought this vote about? Why would you decide to vote suddenly and unanimously to rezone a substantial portion of our existing ag land, or designate it for educational use by an elementary school that will most surely not use it for serious food production?

I left the meeting, unable to watch anymore. I now know that you, the GVPAC, are more interested in your own ideas than what we your constituents have to say. I am bitterly disappointed in the actions of this committee. At best, you have been narrowly led by a small number of special-interest groups, developers, and land owners. You have compromised our community’s future food security, and some day we will all suffer the consequences of your decisions.—Shelly Cobb


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