The City of Santa Barbara and the Trust for Public Land announced last week they bought the 14.7-acre bundle of land known as Veronica Meadows in order to build a public park. The undeveloped property near Arroyo Burro Beach in Las Positas Valley was purchased for $4 million — mainly through Measure B funds and grants — from Peak-Las Positas Partners, the prior company of Santa Barbara real estate developer Mark Lee.
In 2006, Lee received City Council’s approval to develop Veronica Meadows with 25 homes and an entrance bridge across Arroyo Burro Creek. As The Santa Barbara Independent previously reported, the Urban Creeks Council and Citizens Planning Association opposed and shot down the approval in court. The bridge would cross over a small piece of parkland previously given to the city, prompting a November 2012 public vote that defeated the proposal. Since then, Lee and the Trust for Public Land had been working out the specifics of a deal.
“Veronica Meadows epitomizes our ‘land for people’ mission,” said Trust for Public land project manager Alex Size in a prepared statement. “The community made it clear they wanted a park, not housing, and we are thrilled to have been able to partner with the city to help them achieve that goal.” Calling the property “a tremendous asset to our community,” Mayor Helene Schneider thanked the nonprofit in a prepared statement for “play[ing] a critical role” in its acquisition.
Funded by $2.7 million worth of Measure B funds, Veronica Meadows was purchased through a $500,000 grant from the California National Resources Agency’s Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, a $500,000 grant from the State Coastal Conservancy, and $300,000 from the county’s Costal Resources Enhancement Fund.
According to the city press release, the Creeks Division “[plans] extensive creek restoration to stabilize eroding creek banks, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat.” At one time, Veronica Meadows’ natural spring water was marketed as therapeutic bottled water and sold worldwide, said the press release.
There will be a community celebration Wednesday, March 16 at 11 a.m. at the former Veronica Meadows parcel.