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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Goleta Finally Passes General Plan

After five long years, the Goleta City Council has now created a planning commission and approved a general plan a month before Election Day. While some have applauded the decidedly slow-growth approach -- former Capps campaigner and now director of the Coastal Housing Partnership Chris Henson told the Daily Nexus:"It’s an anti-family document, an anti-community document".

His reasoning? Without some growth, the middle class will be squeezed out of the housing market. Certainly, the 55% inclusionary rule along Hollister Avenue won't help. The inclusionary rate, which sets affordable housing percentages for new development, is the highest in the State of California and is certainly meant to discourage any affordable housing development at all. The normal rate is 25-30%.

Perhaps counting on voters not to understand the formula -- the majority of current council members have publicly shrugged off protests from housing advocates saying they are willing to test the waters with the State of California on this issue. To further complicate matters, Council Member Haxhurst takes an "us versus them" very Bush-like "you are either with us or against us" stance on the matter. If you are a pro- growther, and especially a member of the Chamber of Commece, don't expect to ever get an audience with him on these matters.

Overall, the General Plan looks to be a good document -- but some items such as the inclusionary rule were not subject to much input from the public. We will see how the voters respond to their efforts in November.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Eckermann said...

I could be wrong, but I would bet that the Goleta City Council has adopted exactly the plan that the majority of pro-cityhood voters wanted them to adopt. Believe it or not, most of the voters are middle class folks who have moved to Goleta (many of them rather recently) just because it is the way it is. As it has been demonstrated throughout Southern California, if you do not keep development on a short leash, it will gain the momentum of a juggernaut and destroy your community. In the long run, Goleta will no doubt have to provide a little slack to fine tune the planning, beautify the community, and provide housing for students and service workers. But, in my view, the short leash is this the best place to start. Good job Goleta!

10/03/2006 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well eck, we're destined to disagree. Out of the sight of most homeowners and strangely, environmentalists, is a huge amount of development in the Goleta Plan.

Where? Near the old drive-in next to Highway 217.

Huge development, huge traffic, but no-one can quite figure that out, because it is not a place frequented by many. Out of sight, out of mind.

Oddly enough, that area is quite environmentally sensitive. Lots of raptors, egrets, herons in that area... sometimes hunting among the dilapidated cars in the wrecking yard down there... ingesting dripping oil from pans, etc.

Goletans are Potemkin environmentalists... they profess an interest in environmentalism if it raises their property values. But real, roll-up-your sleeves environmentalism, motivated by knowing where the native species were and would be again with concerted effort, is not a virtue of Goleta or its General Plan. They zoning and development of the land near the old drive-in is the case in point.

10/03/2006 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Actually, Anon. 8:12 PM, I agree with you. I do not believe that I ever accused the general population of Goletans of being environmentalists. In fact, I would say that most Goletans are lime green at best (there are a lot of pickup trucks in Goleta driveways). From my admittedly unscientific survey, based on conversations with a couple score of Goletans, most of them chose the area for its low crime rates, good schools, and "Leave-it-to-Beaver" neighborhood ambiance. This is what they believe they are protecting; which is completely consistent with your "out of sight, out of mind" observation with regard to the drive-in property. Put the development in a place that will not change the character of their neighborhood, and most Goletans are for it. Hence, I agree with you.

10/04/2006 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is going to be a great location for tract homes and some box stores. How could you not like that?

10/04/2006 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The second bullet point in the opening `vision' statement of the Goleta General Plan says:

[Goleta is a community] ``That treasures open spaces and ecological resources''

This statement is completely at odds with Goleta's plans for the vicinity of the old drive in.

The plan says nothing about schools: the Goleta Union School District is totally distinct from the city. Nothing about crime. The dominant thread is environmentalism, and that thread is phony, and that is why I think the plan is poor.

10/04/2006 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The plan is the plan, get ready for the building. Just like the Veronica Meadows, the building will continue until you like it.

10/04/2006 1:07 PM  

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