I am in awe of the power of the Allen Road residents. They were somehow able to convince the Santa Barbara City Council to shield their neighborhood from minimal increased traffic were the Veronica Meadows Project approved via Measure Y.

Three members of the current City Council either sat on the Council (Mayor Helene Schneider) or on the Planning Commission (Grant House and Bendy White) when they sold out the Cottage Hospital neighborhood for the lure of big bucks and the prestige of a regional hospital.

The neighborhood surrounding Cottage Hospital is now at risk of deteriorating into a slum due to the helipad debacle. Unless you’ve regularly felt your house shake, coupled with the deafening noise, you can’t imagine how destructive the helicopters are to the quiet enjoyment—and, ostensibly, the property values—we are all entitled to.

Every time my home is buzzed by the helicopters flying to and from Cottage Hospital, I’ll be dreaming of either having the same power as the Allen Road residents or the resources to live in the lap of luxury at Veronica Meadows. Meanwhile I’ll be leery of the underlying reasons why our City Council votes for or against a project.

Following the defeat of Measure Y, perhaps City Council will approve Veronica Meadows through Allen Road—generating more property tax revenue to help fill the tax gap created by the defeat of Measures W and X.

–Mark Geist, S.B.

The recent overwhelming defeat of Measure Y should instruct our elected officials and planning staffs that Santa Barbara residents are very concerned about the use of land bordering lower Arroyo Burro Creek and about ensuing traffic impacts. Officials and planners need to consider a comprehensive plan for the entire environmentally-sensitive area between the end of Allen Road and the end of Palermo Drive. Any reevaluation of the Veronica Meadows project should not be done in isolation from other proposals.

For example, one project in the works proposes the construction of a complex of about 130 units alongside Arroyo Burro Creek, just north of the site of the proposed Veronica Meadows. In addition to the environmental impact of such an enormous and dense project, the complex would add to Las Positas and Veronica Springs Road traffic about 350 resident-owned vehicles as well as visitor, employee, and delivery vehicles. Another site immediately adjacent to the end of Palermo Drive may also be proposed for a housing development. Officials and planners should look at the larger picture of how best to meet the concerns of Santa Barbara residents about traffic flow, safety, and the natural beauty and integrity of the lower Arroyo Burro Creek area.

–Jo-Ann Shelton, S.B.


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