The “Plan, Santa Barbara!” letter by Bendy White in last week’s Independent struck a chord that surely resonates throughout our city. Anyone who has lived here for five years or more has to be shaken by the volume of building going on in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and at UCSB. Likewise, traffic continues to grow and frustrate all of us as Santa Barbara creeps toward duplicating the ugly living conditions so many California cities try to confront after development has been completed. Ignoring the points Bendy White raises about the consequences we all face from current growth only leaves a future far less beautiful than was the Santa Barbara we inherited.
An article in the same issue describes the major unpermitted work done on the Beach City property adjacent to SBCC, which exposes the sinister plans the developer has to cram too many students into his buildings — up to 1,500 — that definitely would lead to a significant Isla Vista atmosphere in Mesa neighborhood. Since the move out of longtime renters on that property, the neighborhood has experienced a significant increase in out-of-control partying, noise, and vandalism from young people participating in weekend bashes. If the developer succeeds there will be three times more the current number of students, many of whom will ultimately degrade the neighborhood, Leadbetter Beach, and the Westside.
Doesn’t it make sense to enforce limits on this kind of dense housing — development that is inconsistent with the surrounding community? There are many people in Santa Barbara who likely agree with Bendy White on this matter.