The Goleta City Council voted unanimously last Tuesday to purchase a 2.43-acre plot of land on Los Carneros Road right near the current city headquarters at 130 Cremona Drive. The $1.7 million parcel — which will be paid for with $1 million already reserved in the General Fund and $725,000 in public administration development impact fees — was once part of the planned Villages at Los Carneros, a housing development that never got off the ground.

Calling the council’s vote an “important first step” toward acquiring the property — the city still has to hold a reading of a development agreement and must go through escrow — Goleta City Manager Dan Singer said that the property presents the city with several options.

“The city has long been interested in having a permanent city hall,” he said, adding that “having a civic building designed to suit our needs (now and into the future) provides a sense of permanence and visibility for the community.”

Singer said that, should it happen, constructing a new city hall on the new property would be an investment. “Owning property perpetually creates good value for our taxpayers and establishes an asset instead of just writing a rent check every month,” he said, noting the $450,000 in rent the city pays per year for its current 20,000-square-foot space.

And the new property, Singer said, is in a good location in more ways than one. The proposed Target store would be partially located on the plot of land the city decided to purchase. Target would need one-third of an acre of the property, Singer said, for a back-of-the-building access ramp. “Assuming we become the owners of the property,” said Singer, “we could sell that portion to Target, which could help, in part, to offset some of our costs of the land.”

Singer also mentioned that although the city elected to purchase 2.43 acres, after a street alignment is made, the city will have close to four acres at its disposal. “This will add value to our purchase in the event the council decides to simply sell the land down the road,” he said.


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