Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Goleta initiates General Plan amendments for development

BY COLBY FRAZIER
DAILY SOUND STAFF WRITER

The Goleta City Council moved one step closer last night to giving a green light to a 102-unit development called Haskell’s Landing when they initiated a number of General Plan amendments requested by the developer.
According to a city staff report, the applicant has requested 13 amendments to the city’s General Plan, which range from changes to land use, conservation, visual and historic resources, transportation, public facilities, noise and housing elements.


“The proposed initiation request includes significant changes to the city’s adopted General Plan…” the staff report, which was prepared by Steve Chase, the city’s director of planning & environmental services, said.
The majority of the council gave praise to the project, citing the developer’s offer to provide $1.5 million for the construction of a new Santa Barbara County Fire station near the site for the proposed development, which is at Hollister Avenue and Las Armas Road.
“A fire station on the western edge of Goleta can be real if we support this,” said Councilman Eric Onnen, adding that it is a project “that’s needed for our community.”
But council members Roger Aceves and Jonny Wallis voted against initiating the amendments.
Aceves cited the recent approval of the Village at Los Carneros, which will consist of nearly 300 units, 63 of which will be rent restricted, and the Sumida Gardens project, which will be made up of 200 residential units.
Aceves said when he ran for a spot on the city council, one of his main concerns was managing growth.
“We’re not doing a good job of that right now,” he said. “We’re pushing projects through and there’s more coming down the pipe.”
Aceves also said he hasn’t received one letter or comment from the public that is in favor of initiating the amendments.
“I haven’t received a single one really in support of this project,” he said. “It’s telling me there’s no compelling reason to move forward right now. We can wait.”
As proposed, the development would be located on a 14.46 acre parcel, which will include 20 “town homes” that are offered at an affordable rate. The units would range from 566 square feet to 2,872 square feet.
For much of the past year, the council has grappled with changing its General Plan, an effort that is ongoing.
In bold letters, a paragraph in the staff report says any General Plan amendments made for an individual project “would apply to the entirety of the city.”
Mayor Michael Bennett disagreed with Aceves, saying the recently approved projects have been in the pipeline for several years and housing is needed in Goleta.
“It is a fact that we do need housing in our community,” he said.
A detailed list of the proposed amendments and the project are available at www.goleta.govoffice.com.

>The council also discussed the city’s revenue neutrality agreement with the County of Santa Barbara, which was a condition of the city’s incorporation in 2001.
Under the agreement, Goleta must pay the county about $8.5 million each year of its annual tax revenue, which over the next ten years, will result in $80 million of payments.
The council voted unanimously to send two representatives to a March 31 meeting with the county, at which the two sides will discuss possible ways to change the agreement that don’t include litigation.

1 comment:

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