With a general plan amendment initiation currently wending its way through the works of Goleta’s planning staff, Peikert Group Architects presented conceptual information for Kenwood Village - a 60-unit residential development proposed for the 10-acre agricultural parcel on Calle Real near El Encanto Heights, adjacent to the future site of the recently approved Citrus Village - before the Goleta Planning Commission on Monday.
Many details of the project have yet to be fine-tuned, but the project would essentially consist of 15 single-family residences and 45 multiple-family residences arranged in a series of duplexes and triplexes. Lisa Plowman, a Peikert spokesperson, touted the “traditional neighborhood” theme of the development, which would include front porches, rear garages and car ports, and Craftsman and farmhouse-style architectural details.
A number of neighbors turned up in opposition of the project, most of them residents of El Encanto Heights who worried about the impacts it would have on what they said is an already intense traffic scenario on that portion of Calle Real.
Aside from traffic, the requirement of a general plan amendment and growing concern about the Goleta Water District’s water supply were touched upon as well. “I say this project is a bad idea,” said Harry Rouse, an El Encanto resident for more than 30 years. “It’s too big, too crowded, too inaccessible, and has too many negative impacts on safety, air pollution, and water resources.” There were, however, two voices in support of the development, both stating that the need for more affordable housing in the area justified both the conversion of agricultural land and the scale of the project. Plowman said that although Peikert planned a detailed study of the economic viability of agriculture on the property, the limited study they have already conducted has indicated that farming there would not be a profitable venture.
As presented, the plan includes a pocket park and seasonal retention basin as common open space, but planning commissioners voiced concern about the adequacy of such a small area of open space in a community of the size of the proposed Kenwood Village. Plowman said Peikert is still attempting to determine whether the retention basin, which she said would be dry most of the year, qualifies as open space. The issue of green building was also raised, with planning commissioners imploring the applicant to examine more closely the cost effectiveness of including photovoltaic panels in the design. “Design integration is more cost effective than retrofitting,” said Commissioner Bill Sheilor. Plowman replied that the cost is currently too high, but that Peikert plans to design the buildings so that photovoltaics are relatively easy for homeowners to install.
Details about the presence of affordable housing in the project, which varieties would be available, and how they would be situated remain somewhat murky, causing Commissioner Jonny Wallis to request more information. Commissioners also seemed intent on keeping building heights down to a level compatible both with the surrounding El Encanto Heights, and with the preservation of scenic views of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Currently, the design calls for maximum building heights of 35 feet.