Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, March 25, 2005

Cottage Hospital Means Business

The News-Press’ Josh Molina surprisingly called them the “dream team” saying that Tuesday nights’ council meeting had “more than 100 people, most of them doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, packed City Hall, urging Santa Barbara to let Cottage build its $413 million hospital on the city's upper Westside. Cottage has assembled an impressive array of architects, business people and donors to back the project.” (Not to beat a dead horse, but I can't link what I can't show -- write Travis ( and Wendy (wow! no email listed for her!) at the News-Suppress and let them know how you feel).

As Cottage runs the construction and development gauntlet of a 2013 state deadline related to earthquake safety – those of us here at Blogabarbara wonder how much $413 million will buy them.

As Molina pointed out, Cottage is the only game in town – thus my philosophical problem with monopolies. There is no leverage available when you are held over a cliff by the scruff of your neck.

Kudos to Cottage for the $10 million in proposed improvements – especially the flood culverts and neighborhood improvements -- let’s just hope none of them follow the Fess Parker path of least resistance. Still, as I watched Channel 17 this morning – I caught something I am not sure even city staff saw.

There’s an area that planners had suggested be dedicated to a little bit of green space near the proposed building. Apparently, however, Cottage has already signed lease agreements with corporate doctors to place assigned parking in the location. The word from Cottage was that there was no way they could provide green space because of the legal contract they had signed already.

I found it interesting that staff didn’t have any objections to the fact that city planning is asked to be bound to a third party legal contract for a structure that does not even have approval as of yet. It would be nice to have a green space and I can understand the need for parking – but why should the city turn their head and look the other way because Cottage made a separate deal?

I did some research and found that Bill Levy apparently did not officially own the area that city planners spent countless hours and countless dollars reviewing and approving. You don’t actually have to own a piece of property that you send plans to the planning commission to review. Canon and I are thinking about submitting a plan to redevelop city hall into a three story night club – we don’t own the property, but it’s something that would bring a little panache to the most official building near the former residence of a King Juan Carlos III statue (Storke Placita).

BTW, Sara and Canon wonder whether LevyTown is going the way of the formerly “black hole” at the Carrillo Hotel (now known as Hotel Andalucia). Hmm – sounds like a future post.

Peace Out,


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