Density on Upper State Will Increase

More Apartment and Commercial Projects in the Pipeline

I’ve lived in Santa Barbara for the past 40 years, and watched so many excellent as well as “unreasonable” developments being built in this city that I love. Now, I’m compelled to attempt to make the people in the City of Santa Barbara aware of a planned development that should not be allowed to happen. The property in question was purchased in the past year or two and is being developed by yet another group of Los Angeles investors who care nothing about our local community. If unopposed, they will make their millions in profit, go back to their mansions in L.A., and let the people of Santa Barbara deal with the obstructed views, heavier traffic, and other results of their project.

The proposed building is located on the south side of State Street. It’s one-half block from the already congested intersection at State and La Cumbre between the Galleria and Grace Lutheran Church. This project has been flying past any hurdles at City Hall, including the ABR. It seems to me that very few people in the city and especially the State Street/La Cumbre area are aware of what’s proposed.

The combined upper State Street properties, consisting of an old motel located at 3885 and a commercial office building located at 3887 State Street, have been demolished. In their places will be the following structures, as described at the ABR on March 3, 2014:

“A new mixed-use residential and commercial building. The proposal consists of demolition of the 22,250-square-foot existing two-story office/commercial building and the existing 4,990-square-foot motel; and construction of 4,735 square feet of new commercial space; 89 new apartment units with an average unit size of 804 square feet; and a new partially subterranean 45,055-square-foot parking garage with 130 residential parking spaces and four commercial parking spaces. The project proposes a density of greater than 63 dwelling units per acre under the Average Unit Density (AUD) Program Priority Housing Overlay. The four story building would be approximately 137,332 square feet (with parking garage) and 45 feet tall. The project also includes 15 surface commercial parking spaces, swimming pool, roof deck … .”

The project that I’m referring to should not be allowed for three major reasons, in my opinion.

1. The impact that several hundred more vehicles at and around the intersection of State and North La Cumbre at any time of day, but especially 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., will have on traffic flow.

2. The impact on our already constrained water supplies.

2. The obstruction of views of the mountains and other parts of the city skyline by a four-story building.

A similar but smaller project that will have 13 apartment units located at 3880 State Street, which is directly across from 3885 and 3887 State, has also been proposed and is being developed.

This proposal calls for a two-story building at the rear of the site near Via Lucero. The project consists of the demolition of 2,152 square feet of commercial structures for the existing nursery. The existing two-story commercial building fronting State Street will remain unchanged. The new apartment building will be attached to the existing 5,442-square-foot one-story office building at the center of the site. The project includes two attached carports for 13 spaces, and a 262-square-foot trash enclosure. Parking on the site will be reconfigured with 117 total spaces, with 39 of the spaces provided on an adjacent parcel to the west with an off-site parking agreement.

The entire site will be made accessible with a new ramp at State Street, a pedestrian lift at the center of the site, and right-of-way improvements at Via Lucero. Pedestrian sidewalk improvements would be required at Via Lucero, resulting in the proposed building and private outdoor living space for two units being too close to the right-of-way. A Staff Hearing Officer review of zoning modifications was requested so that the building could encroach into the “Special District 2” (upper State Street) setback and for the private outdoor living space to be less than 10 feet from the front lot line.

Imagine the impact these two projects will have on traffic in and around the intersection of State and La Cumbre, the impact on water supplies, and the obstruction of views of our mountains.


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