Wednesday, June 4, 2008

County OKs purchase of $1.4M half-acre lot


The latest county-sponsored purchase in an effort to redevelop and improve Isla Vista came Tuesday when the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously authorized the Redevelopment Agency to purchase a vacant, .41-acre lot for $1.4 million.
The lot, located at 881 Embarcadero Del Mar, will be turned into a parking lot with 45 spaces.
Jamie Goldstein, deputy director of the county’s Redevelopment Agency, said the site has sat vacant for 15 years, and it was time the county jumped on the opportunity to buy it.
“This is just a prime piece of real estate,” he said. “Our real goal was to put it to some community use.”

According to current plans, the parking lot will showcase several raised solar panel platforms that will also provide shade for a number of vehicles. A small sitting area will be in one corner of the lot.
Goldstein said the vision for the Isla Vista area, which is outlined in the Isla Vista Master Plan, is similar in concept to what the City of Santa Barbara has created with its public parking lots.
But the parking lot is only one of several Redevelopment Agency projects currently in the pipeline for the area, which is known as the Isla Vista Project Area.
The now vacant lot, which is owned by Chevron, is less than 1,000 feet from the Isla Vista Medical Clinic and Saint Athanasius Orthodox Church, both of which have been purchased by the agency to the tune of $4.4 million.
While it may be years until the county is able to do anything with these two buildings, Goldstein said they will eventually be turned into some sort of mixed-use developments.
The future site of the parking lot could also end up being used as something different.
As Isla Vista’s redevelopment takes shape, Goldstein said it is possible the parking lot could be transformed into a mixed-use development.
“Ultimately this site may not be the best location for a major downtown parking facility,” he said. “It may be decided that it could be a keystone redevelopment project.”
The Redevelopment Agency was created in 1990 and receives funding through a percentage of all property taxes received in Isla Vista.
Next year Goldstein said the agency will receive more than $4 million to put towards similar projects and land purchases.
Before construction can commence on the parking lot, Goldstein said Chevron must clean up existing contamination at the site, which occurred while a gas station was located there. He said cleanup costs will be paid for by Chevron.
Goldstein said parking lot construction is expected to cost $450,000 could begin as early as 2009 if the permitting process goes smoothly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reporting on this. I highly recommend that everyone check out the Community Environmental Council "Energy Summit" proceedings held May 29, as well as the website of, for the "Peak Oil Primer".

A new parking lot is the last thing we need. The price of oil is rising at a rate that means it will more than double every 18 months. We are at the beginning of decline in the world supply of oil, as limited by geology.

It's not hard to find the facts, one just has to have an open mind. I urge the Board of Supervisors to look at the fundamentals, and not make plans based on wishful thinking of a continuation of the automobile, in any form (electric or not).
Robert Hirsch, keynote speaker at the Summit, is the lead author of numerous studies on the economic impacts of "peak". He was not joking when he said "Two thirds of you will not have jobs." We need to prepare as a community. You can google the EB site for archives of his papers, and major studies of "peak oil". We need rational planning.