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Volunteers and Commissions

I’ve just finished Tyler Hayden’s State Street “Turning the Corner” piece and am disappointed with the apparent bias with regard to the permitting process and enforcement. In particular, the vague reference to a misnamed plant on a plan causing a year’s delay. Where are the facts behind this assertion?

Further, Mr. Hayden’s identifying of Jaime Limon as calling out Institution Ale for a violation that would cost $100 per day is, again, vague and misleading. Mr. Limon is a member (appointed by City Council) of the City’s Sign Committee. He loves our town, and in the case of reporting Institution Ale he was acting legitimately to call attention to an egregious violation of the Municipal Code.

Admittedly, the review process can be difficult for applicants. In the context of our beautiful town, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR), the Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC), the Sign Committee, the Planning Commission, the Street Tree Advisory, Parks & Recreation Commission, and other review bodies are necessary to the preservation of the architectural history, neighborhood integrity, the urban forest, etc. Without these groups, and the Municipal Code they enforce, we could easily become a very ugly place. If you’re curious with regard to ugly places, take a drive south, to Oxnard and beyond. Closer though, try Goleta.

I’ve been observing the review process since 1979, as an applicant and as an appointee on various city and county boards and commissions. The people who serve on our review bodies do so, generally, for only their appreciation of the quality of our local environment. They are volunteers. They do not operate capriciously; they are, essentially, enforcing our Municipal Code, which was written with the objective of protecting not only our health and safety, but the quality of our environment.

Bob Cunningham is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

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