In support of Robert Coronado’s concern expressed in “Mega-Mansions Invade” regarding the Mesa neighborhood, I would add similar concerns of mine and many others in the Hillside District of the Riviera.

An influx of monied urbanites from the East is buying small lots and tearing down modest homes nestled in natural settings that allow for space and privacy. They are building in their place McMansions with lap swimming pools and patios right up to the legal setback. This practice is permanently changing the “quaint, coastal” semi-rural atmosphere that has been the hallmark of this quiet, very beautiful town.

In the Hillside District, huge excavations of land and increased hardscape endanger surrounding properties with swift-moving storm waters and insufficient attention to drainage. This has already caused land and mudslides similar to what occurred in Montecito. Tier 3 retention of water has not been strictly monitored.

The burgeoning growth and commercialism of this town has caused our local government to relax the building and zoning codes for the sake of receiving short-term revenue. Old-timers like me were hoping that what happened to Los Angeles would not happen to Santa Barbara. Sadly, our superior quality of life and semi-rural ambience are already compromised.

Not only are our elected officials vacillating, but they have let the Building Department have the final word on the end result of all development in this town. The decisions of the Building and Fire Code Board allow no appeal to the City Council.

Let’s not allow newcomers to think they are improving neighborhoods with mega-fortresses on small lots that change the design and integrity of neighborhoods so beloved and enjoyed by those already living here for many years.


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