Saturday, March 31, 2007

Goleta Valley Voice Roundup - 3/30

Front Page:
Firefighter Answers Final Call
If there’s one thing Capt. Keith Cullom is, it’s consistent. As far back as junior high school, Cullom, 56, had developed a strong interest in firefighting as a career and in photography. Now, more than 40 years later, Cullom is retiring from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department after 35 years, and he’s taking more photographs than ever.

News Briefs:
Airport Rolls Out Expansion Plans
Santa Barbara Airport’s airline terminal project was unveiled Wednesday evening at a workshop attended by Santa Barbara city officials, airport commissioners, and the public.

UCSB Sees More Buildings Underway
The torn-up parking lot in front of Robertson Gym at UCSB will be the site of the new Educational and Social Sciences Building.

Sheriff's Blotter

  • Hit and run suspect found under the covers
  • Sore losers
  • What was he thinking?
  • Cliff-diver du jour
  • Uh, Dad?
  • Auto-dancing
  • Big Sur Drive burglary
  • Who's been prying around?
  • Dude!
  • Special delivery
Letter to the Editor: New council on the mark
I applaud the Goleta City Council for getting right to work on what they campaigned and were elected to do. The very flawed planning process and plan by the previous council needed overhaul. It was what a select few wanted, geared to keeping yesterday forever with no changes.

Local Currents: School's Out And The Kids Are Busy
Students started spring break Monday. For two weeks, they are free from alarm clocks until they return to school on April 9. What are they up to during time off from their studies? Here’s what I discovered.

Tour Rare, Exotic Plants at UCSB
Avid local horticulturists don’t have to trek around the globe to see rare plants, not when they can take a trip to UCSB.

Scientists Give Mice Human Color Vision
Hooray for us mammals: we evolve, adapt and we’re backwards compatible.

Around Town: Dancing For The Ballet
The State Street Ballet organization came up with a novel idea for a spring fund-raiser with the first Dancing with the Stars event, mimicking the wildly popular television show.

Other articles at at the Goleta Valley Voice website.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Anti-Drunken Driving Campaign To Start

A year-long campaign aimed to reduce alcohol-related collisions involving college-age people on roadways near UCSB is set to begin Sunday.

The California Highway Patrol will boost its presence near the UCSB campus and focus on drunken drivers.

UCSB, Santa Barbara City College, the University of California Police Department, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will also join the enforcement and education efforts during the campaign.

According to the CHP, 19 college-age people were injured in alcohol-related traffic incidents on roadways near UCSB in 2005.

One resulted in a fatality, the CHP said.

Source: Santa Maria Times - County Lines 3/30

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Outback Steakhouse Gets Goleta Observer Worst Of Award

Congratulations to the Outback Steakhouse in Goleta for winning the very first Worst of Goleta Award.

No Rules, No Worries... that's the motto, and they certainly lived up to it.

The dishwasher had the night off, brown lettuce salad the staff wouldn't eat so serve it to the customer, and a 14-ounce steak is actually 4-ounces after trimming 10-ounces of fat from it.

Needless to say, The Observer will not be back.

Any other nominations for Worst Of awards, or even Best Of awards?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Village at Los Carneros Draft EIR Available

The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Village at Los Carneros Residential Project has been released. The proposed project is located at 1 S. Los Carneros Road, on Lots 2 and 5 of the Raytheon / Campus Point Specific Plan Area.

A public hearing on the Draft EIR will be held by the City Council on Monday, May 7 at 6pm.

The public comment period on the Draft EIR begins on March 26 and will end May 9 at 5:30pm.

Sheriff Toughens Gang Enforcement

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown is working on one of his campaign promises. It involves the creation of a larger and tougher gang enforcement unit. And it seems the recent violence locally is forcing the Sheriff to quickly put his plan into action.

KEY News reporter Michelle Cole has the story.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Search Still Underway For Missing Woman

A Goleta resident is still missing after six months, but officials aren't giving up.

Victoria Cotton was last seen going for a walk in July when she mysteriously disappeared.

Posters with her face on them are still up at the Sheriff's headquarters and in windows of businesses in Goleta.

Cotton was believed to be going to a local Farmer's Market when she was last seen.

Investigators say she is mentally impaired but can get around on her own.

Garage Fire Burns Residents Out Of Home

Three adults and seven children were displaced Monday after a fire damaged the garage of a home near Goleta.

Thirteen Santa Barbara County firefighters fought the blaze that caused $25,000 in damage at 529 Zink Avenue. The fire in the garage was sparked by an uncovered electrical outlet in the ceiling that short-circuited and dropped hot material onto combustibles, fire officials said.

At the time of the fire, three juveniles were in the house but safely evacuated after a neighbor knocked on the door to warn them, officials said.

The home had working smoke detectors, officials said, but they were not activated because the fire did not reach the living area. No smoke detectors were in the garage.

No one was injured in the fire. The Red Cross was called to assist the 10 people - three adults and seven children - who live in the home.

Source: Santa Maria Times - County Lines 3/27

Monday, March 26, 2007

BlogaBarbara: Goleta Housing Plan Rejected By State

For those that are interested, there is quite a discussion going on over at BlogaBarbara regarding the State rejecting Goleta's housing plan.

Goleta Valley Voice Roundup - 3/23

Front Page:
A Call To Put On The Brakes
Goleta City Council members got an earful from the community Monday as locals, many incensed by proposed changes to the planning process, sounded off.

News Briefs:
Old Town Fire Destroys Businesses
A major fire visible throughout the Goleta Valley destroyed two businesses, Moore Machining and Legend Eyewear, in Goleta’s Old Town.

Goleta Valley Cottage Offering Research Help
A new medical and health information resource is available at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital: Sharon Lezotte, director of Reeves Medical Library at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, is keeping regular office hours at the Goleta location. Lezotte will be available to help members of the public perform literature searches and to train users in the use of powerful medical and health resources available through the Internet.

Sheriff's Blotter

  • Lame alibis of the week
  • Special delivery
  • Sitting ducks
  • Just the essentials
  • A piece of Santa Barbara
  • Inside job?
  • Copper wire stolen, again
  • Grumpy green thumb
  • A rig for the brig
  • Decorative vase stolen from frat house
Goleta's Finest Winners Announced
Patricia Weeks and Denny Franks have been announced as Woman and Man of the Year in the 2007 Goleta’s Finest Awards, which honor exceptional people in the Goleta Valley.

State Sends Back City's Housing Plan For Revisions
The Housing Element of the city’s General Plan was once again returned to Goleta by the state department of Housing and Community Development for revision, perhaps putting another wrinkle in the city’s efforts to roll out its General Plan.

Putting Her Best Foot Forward
Nicolette Iribarne isn’t waiting for graduation to make her mark on the world. As the force behind her own humanitarian organization, Futbol for Refugees, the work of the UCSB freshman has already reached out to less fortunate children all over the globe.

Goleta Scrapbook: Kellogg Creamery - As The World Churned
A good chunk of Goleta’s products from its agrarian past can be recited by most any bright third-grader: lemons, walnuts, pampas plumes, lima beans, olives. But one obvious industry has more or less disappeared into the June Gloom of the past: the creamery.

Your House: The Garage As A Hot Zone
If you have a garage, chances are a car is not the only thing you put in there (if that). In the home inspection field, the garage is what we call a “target rich” environment. Rarely do we get through a home inspection without something to say about the garage.

Other articles at at the Goleta Valley Voice website.

Citizen Questions Deputies In Goleta Arrest

Over at the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Blog (unofficial site and unofficial opinions), there is a post relating to a 'tirade from the Opinion Pages of the SB Independent on March 8th'.

It is unclear as to what took place, and 'Honor Adams' is wondering if perhaps someone could enlighten them.

Police Questioning
What, may I inquire, is the role of the police and sheriffs in Santa Barbara County? I won’t ask for verdicts out of court or recap details of an unfortunate encounter early last Friday morning on the streets of Goleta, but I will publicly question the role of the police. An arrest was made, and probably rightfully so, but the treatment of the arrested “victim of a beating” is subject to serious question. The police openly scoffed and taunted the beating victim. In the hospital he was apparently judged guilty by the police, led through public areas in boxer shorts, given no clothing for protection from the weather, and, with a concussion, was taunted when asked valid medical questions by the attending hospital staff.

Why are the police allowed to conduct themselves in this manner? Doesn't this bother anyone else? It bothers me and I'd like answers.
— John Williams

Goleta Chamber Supports City Council DRB Vote

An email from Kristen Amyx, President & CEO, Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce

I wanted to alert you to something that needs our attention - this past Monday, March 19th, the Goleta City Council took a huge step forward in addressing the most volatile issue that has effected Goleta in the past few years -- private property rights. After being elected in November, the Council quickly went to work on changing the planning process for single family homes, remodels, additions, 2nd stories and garage conversions. Working with the design review board, they proposed changes to streamline and correct the process for making changes to your private property.

The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce is extremely pleased to see such swift, deliberate and well-thought-out leadership on this issue.

On Monday, the Council voted to immediately rescind the rule that homes may only be expanded by 50% of their existing square footage changing a policy that had become a flashpoint in the community. They also voted to change (this is an edited summary):

  • size of the Design Review Board to 7 members (from 9)
  • modify the 3-step approval process for projects so that 2 or more steps can be combined if warranted
  • moved the point of appeal forward to the 2nd step
  • priority of preparing a new sign ordinance
  • Floor area ratio standards (FARS) from absolute standards to guides and decided to review further changes needed to FARs
  • reduction to 10 foot setback along secondary front line (10 feet is twice the minimum setback width that is generally provided)
  • Land Use Permits for discretionary projects no longer must be subject to notice and appeal.
Many, many Goletans will applaud the Council for fixing a broken system that put unnecessary burdens on homeowners; however, there are critics as well.

So, please send your congratulations and thanks to the Councilmembers - by email, phone, fax or letter. You may also want to send a letter to the editor of your local paper. We don't want it to look like there is no support for the fine and reasonable work that the Council is doing. Don't let the vocal minority be the only voices heard by the Council or your neighbors.

Thank you in advance for taking just a moment to jot down your appreciation.

Kristen Amyx

P.S. Even if you do not live in the City of Goleta, it is important that support be given to those who are working to be a model City with property-rights protections for all.

P.P.S. Below is the picture and text from today's
Goleta Valley Voice newspaper story on the issue. The photo associated with the story is of a house that is not in the City of Goleta.

MTD Introduces Dramatic Increase In Service

The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) has been experiencing an increase in ridership over the past few years. At times, some of their most popular routes were so well utilized that the district was put in the unfortunate situation of having to leave passengers behind at bus stops. An effort to relieve this overload situation has been in the works since 2005; MTD and its community partners are pleased to offer the following solutions:

(Omitted - SB Routes - See link below to read full press release.)

Line 6 travels the State/Hollister corridor out to the Camino Real Marketplace. Line 11 travels the State/Hollister corridor then turns left at Fairview Avenue and continues on to the Airport and UCSB. -- These lines have increased frequency on weekdays from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes during the peak hours. The hours of the peak service are: 6:30am - 8:30am and 3:00pm - 6:00pm.

Sherrie Fisher, General Manager, "This is an unprecedented collaboration between the City of Santa Barbara, the City of Goleta, and the County of Santa Barbara, creating the most dramatic increase in service that we have experienced since 1974. Our many thanks go out to the City of Santa Barbara for initiating this process and to the City of Goleta and the County of Santa Barbara for being so willing to participate."

Click here for MTD's complete press release, including SB route info changes.

Deputies Looking For Man Performing Lewd Acts Near Elementary School - Update

The Santa Barbara Daily Sound is reporting that the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department released a composite sketch of a man suspected of masturbating in his vehicle near Hollister School on March 14.

Story and sketch at the Santa Barbara Daily Sound Blog.

Anyone with information about this incident should call 805-681-4150. To report suspicious activity, call 911 or 805-692-5743.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

San Marcos High School Student Severely Beaten

KEYT is reporting a 15 year old Santa Barbara teenager is recovering from injuries suffered in what police describe as an act of retaliation tied to last week's gang-related fatality.

The attack happened last Thursday morning near San Marcos High School. Authorities say the student, an alleged gang member, was beaten by his "own" for not coming to the rescue of stabbing victim Luis Angel Linares.

Local law enforcement agencies remain on heightened alert after last week's murder in downtown Santa Barbara.

Complete story at KEYT. (Video)

State Rejects Goleta's Affordable Housing Plan

Santa Barbara Daily Sound
Tuesday, March 22, 2007
By Colby Frazier
Daily Sound Staff Writer

The controversial housing element in the Goleta General Plan that calls for 55 percent of all new development to be classified affordable, was recently turned down by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

This marks the third time the state has sent the city's inclusionary housing rate proposal back to the drawing board.

"...The Department finds the element continues to require significant revisions to comply with State housing element law," said Cathy E. Creswell, deputy director for the Department of Housing in a letter to council.

The decision by the department of housing comes on the heels of a March 5 city council meeting, during which the council officially voted to open the General Plan to possible amendments.

Some at that meeting criticized the council for diving into General Plan changes before the state's decision on the housing element was known.

Goleta City Manager Dan Singer said that argument was killed on Tuesday when the department of housing issued their findings.

"It's not a surprise," said Councilman Roger Aceves. "I totally expected it to come back."

The 55 percent inclusionary housing rate was approved by the city council last year with a 4-1 vote. Current city mayor Jean Blois made the lone dissenting vote.

Of those who voted in favor of the rate, only councilwoman Jonny Wallis remains on the council.

The other three members; Jack Hawxhurst, Cynthia Brock and Margaret Connell, lost their spots on the council during the November General Election to Aceves, Michael Bennett and Eric Onnen -- all of whom repeatedly attacked the 55 percent inclusionary rate during their campaigns.

"We're cleaning up the General Plan," Bennett said. "The General Plan was a good document, it just needed to have the necessary changes to provide the things the General Plan was drafted to do."

For Singer, the department of housing's decision to send the housing element back to the city is not so much of a rejection, but more of a continuation of the process.

"This is a constructive letter," Singer said. "It gives us some very good suggestions that I believe the Council is willing to consider as we move forward with a General Plan Amendment."

The letter drafted by the state that outlines its reasons for turning down the city's housing element says: "The proposed 55 percent inclusionary housing policy represents one of the highest percentage inclusionary requirements in the State, and will significantly impact the cost and supply of housing in Goleta."

The 55 percent inclusionary housing rate isn't the only part of the housing element the department took exception to.

The letter also says the housing element submitted does not adequately demonstrate the projected residential densities and buildout capacities on the available sites identified in the plan.

Other issues identified in the letter state a lack of public participation while drafting the plan, as well as a lack of consistency throughout the plan.

Changes will also likely include floor area ratios that are specified in the General Plan and setbacks for new and remodeled structures.

After the General Plan was approved on Oct. 2 of last year, eight lawsuits were filed -- many as a result of the inclusionary housing rate.

Singer said the outcome of the lawsuits won't be known until the council makes official changes to the General Plan.

He did say however that a tentative agreement was reached with the plaintiffs of the lawsuits to not move forward with the lawsuits, but it expired last week. Singer said the city hopes to reach another similar agreement with the plaintiffs that will keep the various parties out of court until the current council's actions are made official.

Now it's no longer a matter of if the General Plan will be amended, it's a matter of when it will be completed.

"That's kind of the perennial question," Singer said. "The more changes that get thrown out on the table so to speak the more complicated and cumbersome the process is going to get."

Singer said the council will likely split their changes into two different amendments in order to get some of the less complicated changes enacted more quickly.

On one side will be less changes like the inclusionary housing rate, which Singer said won't require any additional environmental review and will move through the process more quickly. On the other will be a host of changes that could take as long as a year to complete.

Singer said most inclusionary housing rates in the state of California fall anywhere between 15 to 30 percent, and Goleta will likely end up somewhere in between as well.

The council is scheduled to discuss General Plan amendments again at its April 16 meeting.

"I'm looking forward to holding additional public hearings to talk about the housing element and hopefully help us create one that the state will approve," Aceves said. "It's exciting. We'll be able to do it, and do it right."

Posted with permission from the Santa Barbara Daily Sound.

Update 3/22 2:05PM:
Story is now posted at the Santa Barbara Daily Sound Blog.

State Rejects Goleta's Housing Plan

SB Independent
March 21, 2007
By Martha Sadler

The State of California finally returned its decision on the City of Goleta's housing plans, which were adopted in November as part of the newly established the city's first general plan. In a word, the answer from the state's Housing and Community Development (HCD) division is “no.” The the housing element requires more work to earn state certification. The state did not specifically reject the general plan's controversial 55 percent affordable requirement for new condo development along a certain portion of Hollister, but it did decide that the city's development standards are too stringent to allow the kind and amount of affordable housing that the general plan envisions. In addition, the HCD wants the city to provide more detail on plans for housing farmworkers and the homeless. The council, whose newly elected majority campaigned on a platform of changing the general plan's housing element, is way ahead of the state in that is has already given a preliminary nod to both relaxing development standards and eliminating the 55 percent requirement, amendments which staff is refining and will bring back to the council for consideration again on 4/16.

Click here for the Independent story.

Third Time Is Not The Charm For Goleta's General Plan Housing Element

The Santa Barbara News-Press is reporting that the State Department of Housing and Community Development has rejected the City of Goleta's General Plan Housing Element for the third time in 18 months.

In a letter to City Manager Dan Singer on March 19, Cathy Creswell, the Housing Department's Deputy Directory, outlined six areas in which the City is out of compliance. They are: housing needs, resources and constraints, housing programs, general plan consistency, public participation and coastal zone localities.

The News-Press is reporting that Dan Singer said City Staff are in the process of preparing a General Plan Amendment for the Council's consideration, and it is expected to be on the April 16 agenda.

Santa Barbara News-Press Article (Must be a subscriber to view.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Deputies Looking For Man Performing Lewd Acts Near Elementary School

KCOY is reporting that Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies are looking for a man they say performed lewd acts near a school in Goleta.

Deputies say a woman saw a man sitting in his car across from a playground near Hollister Elementary School.

The woman said she saw the man expose himself while watching children playing.

The man quickly drove off in his 2000 model... electric blue... toyota corolla.

KCOY Video

Update 03/21 11:15pm:

KEYT now has the story posted. (Video)

A man suspected of committing "lewd acts" near a school playground is on the loose tonight. Sheriff' s Deputies say the suspect was seen masturbating in his car across from a school playground in the Goleta area last week. The suspect sped off when he realized he' d been seen. Deputies say the suspect is a Hispanic male, between 25 and 30 years old, clean shaven with short hair. He was driving a late model "electric blue" Toyota Corolla. The car had some modifications, like chrome additions to the license plate and bumper. Call Sheriff' s Detectives at 681-4150 if you have any information.

Old Town Goleta: Two Alarm Fire Destroys Two Businesses

KEYT is reporting on a two alarm fire that took place around 4:21am Wednesday morning.

Update 3/22: KEYT video is posted.

At 4:21 Wednesday morning, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department responded with 7 Engine Companies, 1 Ladder Truck, 1 Air and Lighting Vehicle and 3 Chief Officers to a large commercial structure fire, in Old Town Goleta. It burned approximately 9000 square feet. County fire was assisted by 1 Ladder Truck and 1 Battalion Chief from Santa Barbara City. 30 Firefighters worked for about 90 minutes to knock down the blaze which was well involved and had burned through the roof of the building when the first units arrived. An aggressive initial attack by those first arriving firefighters spared the other 4 adjoining businesses from any major damage. The involved business were "805 Clothing", 335 Rutherford, which was totally destroyed, and Moore Machine Shop at 5759 Dawson which suffered major damage. The fire was visible throughout the Goleta Valley. No injuries occurred and the cause is under investigation by the County Fire Department. Dollar loss is being calculated and will be high due to the large amount of damage.

Update 3/22:

Click here for the KCOY article. (Video)

Goleta Development Concerns - KEYT Video

The KEYT video we referenced Monday night under 'Goleta Development Concerns' appears to be posted now.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

2007 Goleta's Finest Winners Announced

The 2007 Goleta's Finest Awards Winners have been announced! Goleta's Finest is a 59-year old tradition honoring remarkable individuals whose contributions have enhanced the Goleta community.

The awards recipients will be honored with a formal celebration on Thursday, April 12th at the elegant Bacara Resort & Spa. During the cocktail hour, guests may bid on items in a silent auction benefiting the Goleta Education Foundation. Later in the evening a live auction will be held to benefit Computers for Families, the Goleta Education Foundation, and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. Dinner, the awards ceremony, and dancing to live entertainment featuring Konrad Kono will follow.

The 2007 Goleta's Finest winners are:

  • Patricia Weeks, Woman of the Year
  • Denny Franks, Man of the Year
  • Dan Cooperman, Educator of the Year
  • Brent Elder, Educator of the Year
  • Bob Yost, Human Services Professional of the Year
  • Duy Nguyen, Student of the Year
  • Leslie Lund, Volunteer of the Year
  •, Small Business of the Year
  • Business First National Bank, Large Business of the Year
The cost to attend Goleta's Finest is $125 per person, or $1000 per table of eight. Tickets may not be purchased at the door, so contact the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce at (805) 967-2500 or email in advance to secure your seats!

The 2007 Goleta's Finest awards ceremony is sponsored by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce and Bacara Resort & Spa.

Goleta Updates Planning

Santa Barbara Daily Sound
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
By Colby Frazier
Daily Sound Staff Writer

The Goleta City Council took several steps last night to change the way big and small projects are dealt with by the city's Design Review Board.

The council voted on 24 staff recommendations and heard spirited public comment from citizens concerned about the openness and fairness of the effort to "demystify," as the council members referred to it, the planning process.

The recommendations stem from three public study sessions held on Dec. 18, Jan. 16, and Feb. 20, which "brought focus upon difficulties encountered in the permitting of small residential projects, both from a technical and customer service perspective," according to an agenda letter prepared by Steve Chase, planning and environmental services director for the city.

The first item on the agenda to change was the Design Review Board's structure from a nine person board consisting of five city residents, two licensed architects and two licensed landscape professionals, to a seven member board made up of four community members and three professionals.

It passed 4-1. Councilman Eric Onnen was the lone dissenting vote. Onnen agreed with staff recommendation that said the board should consist of five members. The five member board would have consisted entirely of professional with one at-large member of the public.

Other issues such as the board's authority as a decision-making body and the length of terms were not tampered with.

Of much concern to some of the council members were complains from residents who had spent thousands of dollars moving through the planning process, only to be shut down near the end.

The council voted to amend the board's three-step process for approval that include conceptual, preliminary and final review of plans.

This also impacted the point during the process at which an appeal can be filed on a particular project.

Staff recommended the council vote to require appeals be filed no later than the second step in the approval process.

"The point of appeal occurs late in the process, sometimes long after design considerations are established and after costly working drawings are drafted," Chase said.

While the majority of the council felt this would help clear up any confusion and eliminate costly expenditures that are eventually thrown out, Councilwoman Jonny Wallis said she thought moving the appeal back will encourage residents to file appeals before they hear all of the information.

"If you cut off an appeal you've done a disservice," Wallis said. "To file an appeal you have to know everything."

Another hot topic for the council was staff recommendation from the city's capital improvement projects to be exempt from board review.

The argument for exempting the city according to the staff report, was that capital projects already undergo substantial review by the city council and redevelopment agency and so shouldn't be required to go before the board.

Also talked about was that capital projects are less visible than private projects.

Wallis said capital projects are very much in view.

"City Hall could be very visible," Wallis said.

"I personally think the city is being hypocritical when we can do this but the citizens cannot do this," said Mayor Jean Blois.

Councilman Roger Aceves agreed with Blois and the council agreed to defer the item until a later meeting.

Also discussed were how to deal with floor area ratios, corner setbacks, land use permits, discretionary projects and how to deal with remodels versus new homes and buildings.

The meeting highlighted campaign promises by Onnen, Aceves and Michael Bennett -- the three newest councilmembers -- who repeatedly said they hoped for quick change to the planning process as well as the city's General Plan.

Harry Rouse said he's fine with improving the planning process, but doesn't want public input and other things to fall by the wayside in the process.

"Yes, streamline the process if necessary," Rouse said. "But stay the course, protect the good land."

Posted with permission from the Santa Barbara Daily Sound.

Update 3/20 6:00pm: This story is now posted at the Santa Barbara Daily Sound Blog.

Goleta Development Concerns

One of if not the the biggest reason for Goleta to incorporate was to allow the community more control over how its land is developed. Following several recent study sessions, a public hearing was held. Sparking more debate over a new proposed planning process, one that some residents fear would leave them unprotected.

KEY News reporter Joe Gehl explains.

UPDATE 3/20 3:45pm: KEYT has yet to post the video for this story.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

City Council Meeting - March 19 - 6pm - Planning Processes

City Council Meeting, Monday, March 19 at 6pm - Goleta City Hall
(Link to the Agenda is to the right, along with directions to City Hall.)

The City Council will be discussing the planning processes Monday night.

From the Staff Report:


It is recommended that the City Council provide direction on the following matters:

1. Changing the structure and operations of the Design Review Board;
2. Changing several planning processes sooner rather than later;
3. Initiating an Organizational Assessment and Development Review Process Improvement Project; and,
4. Authorize the City Manager to execute a contract with Management Partners, Incorporated.

Also in the Staff Report is a laundry list of "Sooner Rather Than Later" considerations to changes in the planning process.

If you are unable to make the meeting, but want to make sure your voice is heard, here is a link to the Mayor and Council email addresses.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

SBReview: From Shall To Should

This is from a post found over at the Santa Barbara Review.

Yes, we are going to have quite a time of it here on the American Riviera, trying to stay pretty for the tourists.

The new city council for the City of Goleta is now feeling confident enough to start the process of amending the General Plan to make it easier for residents to do what they want with their property.

No big changes are in store right now, the voters simply expressed a desire to have a friendlier more cooperative set of councilmembers. In that vein, some small words will be changed in the Plan, minutiae really.

One word that has particularly vexed citizens and politicians alike is the word “shall.” This irritating collection of five letters quite simply forces people to do things they just damn well don’t want to do, like conform to certain drainage requirements on their property, obtain permits for things like radio towers and dog kennels, and stage cockfights on Sunday.

To get along better with the voters, the council will consider just changing that one little word, “shall” to “should.”

There now. That’s friendlier!

Shall means must. That’s a requirement.
Should is a nicer, more gentle word that means maybe you should do something. It’s like saying, oh please clean up that rotting pile of garbage in your front yard but next week is fine, thank you kindly.

This new word will probably dot the new and improved general plan, dot as in Polka Dot Pink ain’t that so pretty.

In The Backyard: Surrender Ends Tense Standoff

The Santa Barbara News-Press is reporting this morning on a brief car chase and standoff with Sheriff's deputies that took place in Goleta, Friday about 4:15pm.

Undercover narcotics detectives tried to detain the person, but instead, he jumped into a car on Coronado Drive and sped off. He later returned to the neighborhood where the pursuit began and ditched the car on Ellwood Beach Drive and ran into an apartment.

"The apartment is known to us," [SBSO] Sgt. Raney said. "It's a place we get called to on occasion."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Close To Home: UC Regents Buy Devereux

BlogaBarbara is reporting that the 33-acre Devereux Property was acquired today by the UC Regents according to an announcement that was sent out by UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang.

To read more, click here to visit BlogaBarbara.

What does this mean for development of this coastal property? UCSB continues to expand and now the Devereux Property will be developed without needing to adehere to local planning guidelines as it is now state property. Yang didn't discuss any plans other than have the property produce income so there is no additional financial burdern for UCSB. This will be something to keep a close eye on.

-Sara De la Guerra, BlogaBarbara

UPDATE: Click here to read Chancellor Yang's Memo to the Campus regarding the approval of the UC Regents for the acquisition of the Devereux property.

Independent Letters: Noleta, No Problem

Noleta, No Problem

The honorable members of the Santa Barbara City Council have only themselves to blame for their “defeat” by LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) on March 1 [News of the Week, “New Developments,” Mar. 8]. In their push to expand the city’s sphere of influence (SOI) (a first step toward annexing “Noleta”), the council relied on a petition circulated by two groups: West Santa Barbara Committee and Committee For One. The connection between these two committees is not clear. Their petition, which asked the City of Santa Barbara to initiate an amendment to its SOI to include our area, allegedly obtained 4,000 signatures (from an area of 30,000). But unfortunately, this petition was deliberately misleading. It left signers only the choice between joining Santa Barbara or Goleta, omitting the option of maintaining the status quo — i.e., remaining with the county. The petitions were deficient in several other respects as well. Yet the city accepted them at face value without exercising due diligence, despite repeated warnings from residents such as myself who prefer the status quo.

My neighbors and I are quite content with the county’s governance, especially now that we have a more responsive supervisor in Janet Wolf. The petition sponsors never revealed the reasons behind their attempts to join the city. I can’t think of any reasons why we need another layer of government. Why fix something that is not broken? Or do they have a hidden agenda?

One thing is sure: It will cost the residents of our semi-rural area more in fees and taxes if the city should ever take over — with no tangible benefits.

I suggest the contentious matter finally be laid to rest, especially since it appears the city has lost interest. This conclusion is partly based on an email Mayor Blum sent me on March 6, in which she wrote, “Last Thursday’s vote [by LAFCO] to continue indefinitely told me that we are not coming back to a vote. I could be wrong, but I would think we are done.” I hope she’s right. 

— Herman Pfauter

Source: Independent - Letters - 3-15-2007

On The Beat With Barney: Goleta $$$

Excerpt from Barney Brantingham's column this week at The Independent:

Goleta $$$: Although Goleta may have elected the best City Council that developer money can buy, Roger Aceves says it’s wrong to lump him in with the big money boys. Roger says he raised only $27,000 or so and didn’t run as part of a slate with Michael Bennett and Eric Onnen, who were backed by major developer donations.

Click here for Barney's complete column at The Independent.

Close To Home: Embattled Isla Vista Master Plan Nears Completion

Many criticisms lobbed against the plan at the March 7 meeting revolved around the prospect of creating housing units for an additional 4,300 I.V. residents. “The biggest issues have to do with land use,” Goldstein said. “People are concerned with changes in population density.” Indeed, the meeting gave rise to concerns that are older than talk of a Master Plan. “You can’t add more population than the services can accommodate,” said Florence Klein, an I.V. resident since 1998. “They need to acknowledge our biggest problems are safety regarding fire and police, then traffic and the lack of parking, and the density of the population that is already here.” Klein, who attended the meeting bearing fragments of her dynamite-exploded mailbox, said she felt police and rescue services were already overtaxed moderating drunken student revelry. Goldstein explained new residences were a necessary trade-off the Master Plan included to meet county mandates for affordable housing.

Klein remained unconvinced, noting that she and others will express their dismay at the next meeting on March 19, in the county’s Planning Commission Hearing Room. “We don’t know anybody here who’s really for this,” she said. “It’s madness in the name of greed.”

Click here for the complete Independent article.

Not-so-GOOD food LAND: When It Comes To Dining Choices, Goleta Comes Up Short

When it comes to dining in Goleta, Mike Gravitz certainly has a bone to pick.

Finding a good sit-down restaurant in Goleta can sometimes feel like searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.

While Santa Barbara offers a plethora of choices to indulge in, Goleta is treated like a neglected stepchild, forced to wear hand-me-down clothes and eat boiled potatoes.

For his complete opinion, click here to visit The Channels Online (SBCC Newspaper).


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

City Adjusts Traffic Light Timing Through Old Town

Santa Barbara Daily Sound
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
By Colby Frazier
Daily Sound Staff Writer

An effort to improve traffic flow through Old Town Goleta was completed yesterday, after city engineers changed the timing of five traffic signals between Fairview Avenue and State Highway 217 along the Hollister Avenue corridor.

The project began about six months ago when the city installed a new traffic signal at Kinman Avenue and Hollister.

While installing the new signal, officials decided to put the remaining five signals on a more updated timing schedule that included motion sensors, which will trigger light changes.

The "system in place in the past had gone into disrepair prior to the city's incorporation," said Marti Schultz, the city's principal civil engineer. "With that installation [at Kinman Avenue] we reconnected the entire system and put it back in working order."

Shultz said the previous lights were on a set timing system, which wouldn't change regardless of the flow of traffic on crossing streets.

Kirsten Zimmer Deshler, a spokeswoman for the city said the old setup was frustrating to drivers because it forced traffic to stop every hundred feet.

Schultz said the only hiccup residents may notice are perceived delays on side streets that cross Hollister Avenue.

"They will experience possibly a little bit longer wait time," Schultz said of traffic on cross streets. "If they do, then they should be patient, it's not broken but there has been a change."

"Vehicles will now be able to travel on Hollister Avenue through Old Town with less stopping and starting which results in less wear and tear on vehicles and is good for the environment," said Steve Wagner, community services director for the city.

Posted with permission from the Santa Barbara Daily Sound.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bishop Ranch: The Battle Ahead

In this Sunday's Santa Barbara News-Press, Travis Armstrong (editorial page editor) has an opinion column on the Bishop Ranch, which is the largest vacant property in the entire City of Goleta (250 acres).

Travis goes on to give some background about the San Fernando Valley developer who wants to build there, and has been working through the process starting with the County of SB, and now with the City of Goleta, for a total of eight years.

Travis highlights comments made at the City Council meeting last week, including the developer stating that the County thought that 1,200 homes might not be enough for that property.

Does the developer have the 'trump card' to play? Travis seems to think so, with the possibility of the company threatening to sell the land to the UC system for UCSB to construct buildings and residences. This would take decisions about land use out of local control, since it would be owned by a state agency.

Travis goes on to slam Councilwoman Jonny Wallis and her hypocrisy in regards to the General Plan and the fact that voters tossed out all three of her allies on the Council in 2006.

An interesting read... is Jonny Wallis doing an about face now? Jonny managed to win re-election in 2004 by a 107-vote margin over a challenger who virtually had no name recognition.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

District To Study Dropping Ellwood Sewer Line

In response to a letter from Gaviota Coast Conservancy president Mike Lunsford, the Goleta Sanitary District discussed at its regular meeting Tuesday the idea of decommissioning a portion of its Devereux Creek Trunkline. The segment of the sewage pipe in question is a 1,600-foot section runs beneath the environmentally sensitive monarch butterfly habitat at Ellwood Mesa.

The district’s current plans for that portion of pipe are to eventually put it into use to serve upcoming residential developments, such as the Comstock Homes project in the Ellwood area, but the developer has already planned for a lift station that could take the sewage away from the Devereux Creek Trunkline and pump it into the Hollister Avenue Interceptor Line. Currently that section of the Devereux pipe serves only the Sandpiper Golf Course maintenance shed.

Ultimately, the Board of the Sanitary District directed staff to conduct a feasibility study on the possibility of rerouting sewage to the Hollister line via lift station, which would allow for the possible abandonment of the western segment of the Devereux Creek Trunkline. The GWSD is anticipated to revisit the matter at their March 20 meeting.

Source: Goleta Valley Voice (Click for article.)

Goleta Valley Voice: The 55 Percent Solution

Now that the City Council is stacked with guys who swear their votes won't be swayed by the developers who paid to elect them, Jim Logan is trying to figure out what's in it for him. Like every other guy who writes big checks to a landlord, he wants to become part of the landed gentry.

Click here for Jim's view at the Goleta Valley Voice.

Goleta Valley Voice Letter: Wake Up, Noleta

The letter we mentioned below, "Noleta residents backed into corner" also appears in this weeks Goleta Valley Voice. (Click here for the letter.)

Wake up, Noleta

If you live near AG-zoned or other undeveloped parcels, you are between a rock and a hard spot.

When a developer proposes to build on that parcel, you can:

• Do nothing, which will result in gargantuan McMansions such as those built creekside of Foothill School, or those currently being built at Kellogg and Camino Campana.

• Spend countless hours of your time and energy trying to “mitigate the negative impacts” which will result in earth-toned, slightly scaled-down McMansions, such as the almost 6,000 sq. ft. homes recently approved by the Planning Commission for 1118 N. Patterson Ave., the former Sexton home and ranch.

However, be forewarned that if you choose the latter, you can expect (despite a united protest by 33 immediate and nearby neighbors) to receive a humiliating, public dressing-down for your selfish and “troubling attitude” in thinking that neighboring property owners have any rights vis-à-vis developers.

This tongue-lashing will come from two of the North County Planning Commissioners, particularly 3rd District Commissioner David Smyser.

It will also be suggested that if you don’t like that huge, new, multimillion-dollar house looking into your windows and backyard (from previously zoned AG land), you should buy it yourself.

Furthermore, you can rest assured that, even though over 60 neighbors signed a petition addressing concerns over traffic speeding along North Patterson Avenue, 4th District Commissioner Joe Valencia has driven that road “several times” and found that speeding is not a problem.

Mary and Ender Kuntsal


Friday, March 9, 2007

News-Press Letter: Noleta residents backed into corner

Also over at the Santa Barbara News-Press, March 9th edition, Mary and Ender Kunstal have written a letter to Goleta neighbors who live near ag-zoned parcels in the unincorporated area between Santa Barbara and Goleta, stating "you are between a rock and a hard place".

They go on to give two options for residents when a developer proposes to build on a parcel.

An interesting read, and kind of a slap since the authors referenced the recently approved "earth-toned, slightly scaled-down McMansions, such as the almost 6,000 square-foot homes in the 1100 block of North Patterson Avenue", "despite a united protest by 33 neighbors".

Click here to read the entire letter. (Must be a subscriber to view.)

News-Press Opinion: City (of SB) dissed on Noleta

In the March 8th edition of the Santa Barbara News-Press, the Opinion section has a recap of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) meeting about the sphere of influence for the Eastern Goleta Valley (aka Noleta).

Click here for the complete Opinion. (Must be a subscriber to view.)

Goleta's 5 Year Accomplishments

The City of Goleta has posted the 5 Year Accomplishments (PDF Format) on their website. The document is the slides presented to the City Council and Public by the City Staff at the February 5, 2007 Council Meeting following the City's Fifth Anniversary.

Click here for the PDF file.

Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf and Sheriff Bill Brown Talk Safety

The Santa Barbara Daily Sound Blog has a complete story on the Wednesday night community forum held to address public safety issues.

Click here to read the story.

Isla Vista Master Plan

For an update on this weeks meeting regarding the Isla Vista Master Plan, stop by the Daily Nexus and read the story 'Long-Term I.V. Plan Faces Opposition at Community Meeting'.

Goleta General Plan Updates

The Independent is running a 'Goleta Gets a Do-Over' story.

The Goleta Valley Voice is running a 'City acts to alter General Plan' story.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Goleta Taking Steps Towards New Plan

The Santa Barbara Daily Sound has a posting with a recap of Monday night's council meeting.

Click here for the complete article.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Monarchs Flutter to Local Sanctuary to Breed

For those of you who don't know about the Monarchs and the Ellwood Mesa Open Space, I encourage you to read the story the Daily Nexus is running today about it.

Click here to read - Daily Nexus, Monarchs Flutter to Local Sanctuary to Breed

Friday, March 2, 2007

City of Goleta Public Hearings - Planning Agency

Hearing Location:
Goleta City Hall, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B, Goleta, CA 93117

Hearing Date and Time:
March 12, 2007, 6pm

Public Hearing to Consider:

  • 6067 Shirrell Way
    Goleta Presbyterian Church Appeal of Issuance of Sign Certificate of Conformance
  • 5505 to 5585 Overpass Road
    Sumida Gardens Final Development Plan Time Extension

Funds Won't Buy Votes, Three New Councilmen Say

Sonia Fernandez at the Goleta Valley Voice has an article this week about the three new Goleta City Council members who received large, last-minute contributions from developers looking to build in the city.

Onnen also said he would not recuse himself from council proceedings unless required to by law.

(Interesting comment on Onnen's part...)
“It seems to me (the contributions) would have some effect, otherwise why would people give that much money? It seems that you would want to get a return on your investment,” said local resident Jeff Haight. “I would hope that that’s not the case.”

(And this seems a little bit closer to the truth. But we shall wait to see what happens. Bishop Ranch suit against the City is still pending, and a decision whether to go forward or not is supposed to happen on March 15th.)

Click here for Sonia's complete article.

SB County Planning Commission Backs Plan for Six Big Homes at 1118 N. Patterson Avenue

Martha Lannan at the Goleta Valley Voice is reporting that six large homes planned for open space in the North Patterson area of unincorporated Goleta were recommended for approval Wednesday by the County Planning Commission.

"This was about the applicant working with the neighbors and vice versa," said Cecilia Brown, planning commissioner for the 2nd District. "The public process worked, and it resulted in a better project for the community."

Click here for Martha's complete story.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Citizen Sound Off: Bishop Ranch

What are your thoughts on what should happen with Bishop Ranch? Should it be developed? Should it remain as designated in the General Plan and be undeveloped open space? Here is your opportunity to sound off!

On The Beat With Barney - 'Good Gov't $$$' and the Goleta City Council

Barney Brantingham's On The Beat column at the Independent is covering Good Gov't $$$ this week. Here is the excerpt:

Good Gov’t $$$: In this era of corruption, it is indeed heartening to find evidence of business investing in good government. If not for their passion for civic betterment, why else would developer Mike Towbes and the Keston family donate dollars to Goleta City Council candidates? Towbes, wife Anne Smith, and Towbes’s VP Craig Zimmerman and his wife Amy Zimmerman kicked in a total of $11,400 to Michael Bennett, Eric Onnen, and Roger Aceves, who ended up ousting the slow-growth incumbents. Bennett, Onnen, and Aceves also received $16,646 from Michael Keston, who, according to Independent reporter Martha Sadler, has been trying to develop the sprawling Bishop Ranch for years. In all, the three challengers got $120,000 from developers with both projects and lawsuits pending before the City Council. Much of this came in the last two weeks of the campaign in the form of donations between $900 and $999, just under the $1,000 reporting requirement and allowing the donations to be hidden until — guess when? — after election day. But heck, it’s all in the interest of good government.

For Barney's Complete Column, Click Here.

Who will be the first on the Goleta City Council to come forward with a full list of the campaign donations they received, including the donations under the $1,000 reporting requirement? Shouldn't there be a full-disclosure law about this?

Goleta Beach Draft EIR Scheduled For Release

The Independent is reporting that the draft EIR for the erosion-plagued shores of Goleta Beach is scheduled for release in less than a month.

SB County Parks Commissioners gathered to hear the details of two primary proposals to protect the shores of Goleta Beach. County staff said both plans would each cost approximately $9 million.

Click here for the full story at the Independent.

Click here for the SB County Parks Commission Staff Report (Feb 22 Meeting, Agenda Item 2).

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