Monday, July 14, 2008

City seeks input on long-term policies


After a widespread look at largely abstract concepts such as sustainability and community character during the past year, city leaders are soliciting input from the public on more concrete issues embedded in an overhaul of Santa Barbara’s guiding principles.

In two upcoming community workshops, residents can weigh in on draft policies for reshaping the city’s General Plan that are outlined in a policy options report available at
“It’s a very exciting time for the city,” Mayor Marty Blum said. “I don’t think we have it all decided in any way, but at least we’re now becoming able to articulate our ideas and what we want.”
A series of public meetings in April revealed several overarching goals — a range of development growth needs to be studied and any new growth must be managed, sustainable, and clearly meet community needs.
Under the proposed policy options, the city would study no more than 3 million square feet of non-residential growth for the next 20 years. There is currently 21.3 million square feet of non-residential space in existence today, officials said.
Leaders would also study no more than approximately 10,000 new residential units under the proposed options, which would push the city to its current zoning capacity of 47,000 units.
“It is important that we hear from residents and businesses in Santa Barbara, because these policies will shape how our city grows over the next 30 years,” John Ledbetter, the city’s principal planner, said in a news release. “We are considering some very interesting ideas, including sustainable neighborhood plans, creating more affordable housing through small-sized units, energy use and how we get from home to work, setbacks from Highway 101, limits to water use, community gardens, and much more.”
Information gathered during the two workshops — at 6 p.m., July 17 and 23, at the Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu St. — will be used to create a set of preferred policy options for the Planning Commission to consider later this year.
Written comments are also encouraged and should be sent to Plan SB Team, P.O. Box 1990, Santa Barbara, CA 93102.
Mayor Blum said she attended four workshops last summer and plans to be at both policy preference workshops in the next week.
“You get a feeling for what the community wants by being there,” she said.

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