With the region suffering from a severe drought (for more information, read Nick Welsh’s cover story here), a development project underway in Goleta is preparing for what happens when the rain does fall. Hollister Village, an apartment complex-meets-retail hub that broke ground last fall, will also be home to an underground storm-water basin that the project’s engineers said will be one of the largest in the area.
The basin will rest underneath the planned retail area’s parking lot, employing half-a-mile’s worth of five-foot-diameter pipes — dotted with small holes — to collect rainwater for release back into the ground, and during times of major rainfall, to slowly release the H20 into the city’s storm drain system. The project’s developers said the basin will serve dual purposes: conserve water on-site and prevent it from rushing off too quickly during big storms.
The pipes will be able to store as much water as would 22,000 bathtubs, said project engineer Don Donaldson. “Every little bit helps, especially during a drought,” Donaldson said. He explained manholes in the pipes will allow for routine inspections and cleanings, adding that city staff will be provided with annual reports on the system.
Developers said that the basin will be another component of Hollister Village’s green approach. Plants will be drought-tolerant, Donaldson said, and wetlands will be restored on the property. The project’s integration of residential and commercial space — plus its proximity to the Camino Real Marketplace, which sits right across the street, and to Goleta’s business parks — is meant to encourage the use of alternative transportation, project officials said.
Approved by the Goleta City Council in October 2012, the complex, which will offer 266 apartments plus a grocery store, drug store, and restaurants, has attracted acclaim from the business community but concern from some residents worried about increased traffic in that part of town. All components of the project are expected to be completed by the end of 2015.