Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, December 17, 2007

Paseo Chapala: Wrong Side of Chapala?

The Santa Barbara Housing Bubble Blog is taking on the relative value of Paseo Chapala with a vengeance. Do the Bermant Brothers fulfill on their promise of a vibrant city life around the corner from graffiti and the Salvation Army just three blocks down?

Just a couple of years ago, this was the wrong side of Chapala Street. Progress or gentrification of our downtown area? You decide.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gentrification is progress.

Are you saying blight is good planning and helps keep housing affordable? Many in the city worry to death they may lose affordable housing if they clean up blight.

So they ignore it, and all the health and safety issues that go along with it. One more hidden city council agenda - let blight keep housing and rental prices down.

Is this racist, or what? It is.

12/17/2007 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess where Berkus put in his affordable units on his Chapala Street monster?

Looking out directly on the Salvation Army parking lot.

So don't give Bermant and Paseo Chapala a bad time. He just dumped them into the center courtyard, ruining the complex for everyone.

Affordable housing is the new blight. The shortest way to drive down values of the remaining market rate units. Everyone wins, except those locked into ratty equity apprecation in their affordable units.

What is affordable about investing in housing and missing out on all the equity growth. They should have called them new urban slums from the very begining.

12/17/2007 11:47 PM  
Anonymous Hate Smart Growth said...

It sure as hell ain't progress.

It is gentrification.
and it is ruining our beloved small town character.
There ain't ever going to be another Santa Barbara!

Smart growth high density monstrosity buildings like this we can do without!

Please, City council, NO MORE! Are you listening to us?

What we need is a now limit on unit sizes! Like 1200 q. ft MAXIMUM for a 2 bedroom unit! ( Affordable by design)

12/18/2007 12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely progress. Next project: the hideous trailer park on upper de la vine. You know, the once that dumps all the garbage into mission creek.

12/18/2007 6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This city council loves trailer parks and letting RVs take over our streets all over town. Open you eyes if you think Upper DelaVina is the only trailer park dump in this town. The city council wants to put them on all city parking lots now.

Hey, trailer parks are prime affordable housing and Affordable Housing Is Good. This is a very thoughtful, compassionate city council who wants to do the right things ........ for the wrong people.

The only message the city council got from all the recent planning meetings is this city wants (not needs) more affordable housing. That is all their heard.

12/18/2007 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Glomming Hospitality Operator said...

While I enjoy The Santa Barbara Housing Bubble Blog this particular post has a definite slant. Whether the new developments on Chapala improve the immediate area remains to be seen but the immediate visual of the new buildings are a great improvement. Pointing out the graffiti and other negative visual blight at street level does not necessarily reflect the views from the new homes. Regardless these new units are a definite visual improvement to the area.

Some might wrongly conclude that no one will want to live in these homes. I doubt that. The problems I see with this development is that it is perhaps a little close to the street, there are no real "paseos." There may be mixed use conflicts if not properly constructed and sound-proofed.

The pricing may be high but consider that you could pay the same for a 2 bedroom 2 bath home fixer, in the "right" neighborhood. It is all about choices folks and believe it or not not everyone wants a yard or the auto-dependent lifestyle.

I am hopeful that the new residents of Paseo Chapala, as well as the other new developments, will be an immediate local force to tame the downtown drunk-zone scene that locals abhor. We need residents downtown who own it, rather than the typical users of it, to transform downtown into a district that we all want to responsibly enjoy.

12/18/2007 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Unaffordable by anarchy said...

Am I reading this right that the vitriolic opponent of "smart growth" (which he never defines) now thinks "affordable by design" is anything but the spin and scam it is?

You just impeached all your rhetoric, dude.

12/18/2007 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean when you use the term "wrong side" of Chapala? How do you divide this town up?

What is wrong with this part of town? The people who live there? The graffiti and trash? The lack of infrastructure improvements? Cars parked on front lawns? Over-crowding slum lords?

The trashed sofas abandoned on the curbs? The refrigerators and washers on the front porches? The dirt and weeds? The RVs on the streets and permanently plugged into driveways.

The broken windows boarded up? The peeling roofs and weathered paint? The overflowing and overturned garbage cans and dumpsters? The neighborhood pot shops on every major block?

The shopping carts left at every public housing project sidewalks? The slackers panhandling on Carrillo? The homeless camps along the creek? The gang fights in the hoods leaving trails of blood and codes of silence?

The vandalized parks? Ooops make that singular ...the vandalized sole park. The smell of urine on public walkways? The beer cap carpets under public picnic tables? The wrong side of town where everyone expects to dump their demand for affordable housing?

Heaven protect the wrong side of town from gentrification. What is there not to like about this wrong side of town.

12/18/2007 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry but "affordable by design" quickly died its own miserable self-inflicted death. These units just got sold to out of town speculators.

So you see there is no such thing as affordable housing in this townas you want to define it: free housing for those who don't want to pay for it.

All our housing is affordable to someone. You just don't likethose who can afford it. That is the crux of your problem. Developers are driving this affordable housing fraud because they get to pack more housing into space that does not allow for it.

Repeat after me: all housing in Santa Barbara is already affordable because all housing in Santa Barbara sells.

You need to come up with a clearer term that states your goals because it is not an issue of affordable housing. It is an issue of giving away housing for free because this is what you want. What term best describes your stated goals?

Affordable housing has become a meaningless and unattainable goal according to your definition and the misuse of this term needs to be discarded.

Free Housing For All or FHFA - (FIFF-FAH) states your goal more realistically and gives the city a better chance to accomplish these ends.

12/18/2007 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes gentrification is progress, but progress in the WRONG DIRECTION.

We don't need gentrification.

We also don't need densification. Just like we don't need or want ANY more of those 4 story monstrosities like those 2 going up on Chapala.

We sure as hell don't need or want so called "smart growth" which is just another way of saying significant population growth and significant growth in traffic congestion.

W need to be a sustainable community of 100,000 population cap which is the MAXIMUM that can live within our resources.

We need to preserve our current small town character and our quality of life and NOT become just another L.A.

There will never again be another Santa Barbara.

So just say NO to high density 'smart growth".
and just say no to those so called 'HOT PRINCIPLES" which is just another way of saying high density 'smart growth". And yes we DO need to keep our existing modest housing stock! All the new projects that tear it down and replace it are high end luxury $1,000,000 condos for the rich. We need that like we need a hole in the head.

12/18/2007 10:38 AM  
Anonymous hate Smart Growth said...


It is YOU who are wrong if you think smart growth is good for our city.

It is a fact that our city is fine just the way it is. If you don't like it, MOVE! Don't try to ruin what the vast majority of our residents love.

Smart growth was developed as an alternative to growing horizontal.
Smart growth makes the assumption that growth is desirable, and even necessary, and even inevitable and so "Smart Growth" simply means to build a city in a very high density and vertical way.
The product of smart growth is exactly those two four story monstrosities now going up on Chapala that everyone hates so very much.

Vertical high density Smart growth may be superior to horizontal low density growth but there is an alternative that is superior to BOTH horizontal growth and vertical high density "smart growth", and that is no population growth . Right now we have a wonderful, charming, and beautiful low density one and two story small town character with human scale. Right now we have a 100,000 population which is a perfect match for our limited resources, including water and especially our street circulation system. our street system is now at full capacity. We are simply not going to tear down any buildings to build any more streets so our streets simply cannot handle 200,000 population and a doubling of our traffic which is already at full capacity.

Even though you may not like cars it is a reality that for the next 50 years the car, in some form and with some fuel, will continue to provide 90% of our transportation with only 10% by walking, bikes and bus. Smart growth advocates stick their head in the sand and think that if they only and remove street capacity and congest cars on purpose that they can force people out of their cars. This is socialist SOCIAL ENGINEERING' at its worst and it just ain't going to work. Smart growth advocates want to remove parking to force you into taking alternate transportation because you won't be able to find a parking spot.

Smart growth advocates say that a down-town needs vitality and that smart growth will provide it.
Well I got news for you: Our downtown is already vital and healthy. What smart growth will do is congest the downtown so much and make it so difficult to find a parking space that the customers will simply go someplace else and the downtown will become a place for roving gangs of the children of the new high density "PROJECTS'. Crime will flourish downtown. our downtown will become canonized and lose all of its sunlight , mountain views, and most of all its wonderful character and human scale. that can never be replaced . smart growth advocates say that smart growth is more sustainable than sprawl. It is. But what they don't tell you is that no growth is even more sustainable than smart growth. Smart growth advocates say that a city mist grow or it will wither and die. Another fallacy. Santa Barbara hit 100,000 in the year 2000. For 7 years now the population had been flat with no population growth. We have vitality, and beauty, a sound economy and most of all a wonderful quality of life.

lets keep it that way.

Lets keep our current general plan and zoning ordinance and density.

in a word: It works .


Just say NO to smart growth!

12/18/2007 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It is YOU who is ignorant, dude.
There is in fact a concept called affordable by design.

It is no spin.

Now where you are confused, my friend, is that some developers use the word improperly and thus give the concept a bad name.

It is true that their self-proclaimed "affordable by design project is in fact not affordable that does not mean that there cannot be a project that IS affordable by design.

There is a developer here in town name Blankenship that builds projects with modest and small sized units that sell around $600,000 or a little more.

This is true affordable by design. As compared the high end units that are simply huge ( over 2000 sq. ft.) and full of luxury materials like granite and high end amenities and are priced at $1,500,000 and up for the rich.

It's a fact that new condos sell for around $600 per sq. ft

So a project with small sized 1000 sq. ft units that sells for $600 per sq. ft. or $600,000 is a whole lot more AFFORDABLE BY DESIGN than a luxury high end 2,500 sq. ft. unit that sells for $600 per sq. ft or $1,500,000.

Consider yourself proved wrong.

12/18/2007 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Wacko Wacker said...

HSM - You are ridiculous. First, you NIMBYs want to stop all projects and then you want to social engineer how people should live.

Keep it up. Pretty soon they'll be implanting chips in us that tell us where we can live, in how big a space, and what we can eat, etc.

You and your NIMBY friends can all take a hike.

12/18/2007 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Small Town Folly said...

Hate Smart Growth says development "is ruining our beloved small town character".

I think the lack of housing for the workforce, and resulting lack of the vibrancy found in a healthy community has already ruined our town. Now it's full of old, nasty NIMBY haters who have nothing better to do than get together at local coffee shops to plan ways to protest this or derail that.

Selfish and outmoded any way you slice it.

12/18/2007 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The small town character already left town, unless starbucks and national chains are small town. Personally as someone who grew up here I dont mind the new buildings always thought el paseo would have been a great place to live. As for the affordable housing being the new slums, why should someone who gets a subsidized home get to cash in on it? And by the way although the gains are not as great the ensuing tax write off and equity isnt bad either.

I also would add I like smaller condo complexes than the nightmare highlands style and having it close to services well whats wrong with that?

12/18/2007 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reply to BOTH 10:15 a.m. and 10;35 a.m.

You got me totally wrong my friend.

I am a no-growther who despises smart growth and those 2 new monstrosities on Chapala.

I am against gentrification and against building ANY new high end luxury units.

I fully understand that housing is extremely expensive here and I know why that is. ( We live in the most desirable city in the country).

Now I don't want to build a lot of high density affordable units.

So based on the above you can see that you missed my point completely.

My whole and only point is that the few new units that we do allow in the future must be affordable to the middle working class. ( the Housing Authority takes care of the poor and does an excellent job at it).

Therefore all future new units must be affordable by design.

and yes it is a fact that there is such a concept.

What you and I both object to is developers coming before council and claiming that their project is 'affordable by design" when in fact it is not. You and I agree that such projects ARE NOT affordable by design. But it is a fact that there can truly be a project that is affordable by design and that is simply a project that is designed to be of very small size ( like 1000 sq. ft. instead of 2500 sq. ft.) and with modest materials and amenities and built as inexpensively as possible . and truly sole for a relatively affordable price which is defined as below the then current median price for units of that number of bedrooms.

12/18/2007 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5;47 p.m. wacko wacker

I got news for you, Wacko Wacker, 80% of the citizens (and voters) share the common goal of wanting to preserve our cities small town character and our quality of life and only 20% are in favor of high density smart growth.

AND WE AIN'T GOING ANYWHERE. We are in control, and what we say goes and if you don't like it then you can lump it! ( and if you want to live in a dense city you can move to =new your city.

12/18/2007 8:11 PM  
Anonymous hiram johnson said...

It is the socialists who support the planning agencies that regulate growth. Anyone who loves strong planning loves the government and is a socialist.

The free market can do a far better job.

Fire all the planners and save their salaries, and give a tax rebate to everyone.

Let the market decide what kind of growth and where.

Anything but letting the market decide is socialism! Either you're a free marketeer or your a socialist stooge.

12/18/2007 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reply to 5:53 p.m. smart town folly

I got some really, really, bad news for you Smart Town Folly. I hope you are sitting down. It is a fact that 80% of the voters in the city of Santa Barbara want to preserve our existing small town character and don't want to densify our town with any more 4 story monstrosities like those going up on Chapala.

We are not NIMBY's but in fact NIMTA (Not In My Town anywhere).

Only 20% of the voters side with you, and want to build up like crazy, so get used to the fact that we are in control and we are not going to allow our beloved small town to be densified with high density "smart growth" or the so called HOT principles. It just ain't going to happen, (there are too many of us) so get used to it or move.

12/18/2007 8:21 PM  
Anonymous faint odor of Chinese Roast said...

So much to say. The stalwart anti-or-slo growth types need to remember this....we are at least 1 trillllion dollars in debt. Some estimates are as high as 3 trilllllion. By the time the Republicans and stupified Democrats have finished the U.S. of A in this "WAR" there will be no way out except to grow. The Bush's benefactors the "Club for Growth" have won. We have now way out. Santa Barbara must pay it's fair share and so therefore WE MUST GROW. We cannot work around this. We grow up or out. We plunder or we conserve. There is no question. Again, we must grow and we must grow mucho to pay off the debt incurred by our idiotic acceptance of our non-democratic system of government that led us into DEBT. We drank the coolaid. We shopped at Walmart and Costco. We bought SUVs. Better put on your thinking caps kids because we are going to have legal immigration (brain drain) and illegal immigration (workerbees) BAU. We're going to have to find new energy and water resources. Wake up and smell the beans folks because that's the smell of Chinese Roast! ( no offense to the China)

12/18/2007 10:13 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

10:24 AM -- there's nothing wrong with that side of Chapala other than it is not the money making side of Chapala. Isn't it the last place to have a pay phone in Santa Barbara? Wasn't the best of neighborhoods -- gentrification i okay within limits but this thing is tall and unwieldy. Where do your kids play if you live there? Not much of a set back is there?

12/18/2007 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kids play in driveways, sidewalks and streets and often right next to the fumes coming out of marijuana dispensaries in this part of town.

No parks in this part of town at all, and loss of any set back or yard space is eaten up with automatic grants of zoning modification when any remaining open space areas are in-filled.

City council loves doing this. They don't care where kids play in this part of town. And they also don't care they play with guns and knives. But they do care about Iraq.

12/18/2007 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SDLG, you are right with all the subsidized housing in this part of town on the wrong side of Chapala, there is no money here to support the high end shops, restaurants and cultural activities even though they are in walking distance.

Rich people need cars to get to these downtown economic amenities because they gave all the surrounding land to the poor people when they built all the city housing projects here.

The city created an economic dead zone right in the middle of downtown, our prime tax supporting base. And they want to make it worse every day they keep dumping unsound public housing projects in this wrong side of twon.

Beleive it or not, the best thing that can happen here is to allow more million dollar condos here so the vitality of downtown Santa Barbara can be protected and people can get to these activities without their cars.

12/18/2007 11:32 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I don't know about million dollar condos that are so high up in the air -- aesthetically, I am not happy. Redevelopment is fine -- within limits but this one is too tall and mighty for its' own good.

12/18/2007 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If developers did not have to pretend to the city they were building "workforce" housing (affordable by design which means more crammed in and smaller units) and hit the ground running knowing they were building high end condos, they could put in fewer and shorter units.

Can't ask developers to devote 50% of the units as affordable, and still make money on the market rate ones unless you allow them to build more and higher. Because few want to pay top dollar to share living with a mass of affordable units. Not a healthy environment right from the get go.

Law of Unintended Consequences. It is time for the city to get out of the housing business.

They tried to create their version of an artificial utopia and have grandly failed, except for the very few who got some undeserved windfalls which solved problems giving these few such special treatment.

Pack up the tent. The city has stretched the housing business as far as it can go and is now leaving trails of inequities behind.

I don't think this was their original intent. But they were too short-sighted to understand what they were doing when they started dabbling in public real estate speculation.

12/19/2007 12:03 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

You know, this really falls into the "too late now" catagory.

It is really an uninspired design. Down right big and boring. You'd think with the money they spent, they would have hired a first rate designer. (of which I know a lot about, for my one "almost" fan)

However, It's not too late to help out the Miramar. That is also looking kind of big and out of place, at the least.

Sara, Maybe you can start a thread on that effort for the Montecito crowd we love to hate. The community meetings never give people a chance to say what they really feel about it.

One of the great services of pseudo anonomous blogs.

Just look at the three biggies in this part of town. Chapala, Fess Parker's new hotel and the Miramar. Substantial landcape altering monuments that affect all locals in terms of views, traffic et al and only serving a few people, mostly non-locals...

These aren't pie in the sky build, build, build, greenie weenies,(thanks for the effort Hiram)

This is the real deal, right now...

(I promise not to get started on UCSB, my heart seriously can't take it anymore)

12/19/2007 12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember when the Berkus townhouses on Equestrian Way on the right side of State Street were considered egregiously out of scale for the neighborhood?

And the neighbors fought them like crazy to keep this over-scale development happening downtown?

Today, they look like Moody Sister doll houses and we could only wish this is all that got built down town. Berkus, you done us right with those. My apologies.

However, I did not know this would lead to your supersizing your next projects, but we should have known you wanted to get back at us for our lack of vision.

12/19/2007 12:44 AM  
Anonymous hiram johnson said...

How is it preserving a quality of life when you invoke state-sponsored socialist planning to `preserve' something?

State-sponsored planning didn't work in the Eastern Bloc or in China or even in Switzerland. There is no `quality' in government control!

Let the free market decide. If folks don't like the Chapala Condos, no problem, they should simply *buy the building* and tear it down and turn it into a park.

Making planning agencies into little Stasis and star chambers cannot possibly result in `quality'. When did the government ever do anything right?

The noble free market can solve it all, just give it a chance. And if you want the town to look a certain way *then raise the money and buy it and make it look that way*.

Getting the government to do it for you is socialism, pure and simple.

Oh yes, people will say, we need zoning. And we do! Just to keep unsafe and incompatible uses untangled.

But using zoning for people to regulate what they can not buy because of some narrow minded views of what is `quality' is socialism, pure and simple.

So either raise the huge flags of Lenin and Stalin and Mao or devote yourself to the free market!

12/19/2007 5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is proper for the city to be in the zoning and design control business.

It is highly improper for them to be in the human social engineering by fiat and ignorance business.

But this is what we have on this current city council who still refuses to accept voters sent a very clear new message to them.

12/19/2007 7:42 AM  
Anonymous Chairman Wow said...

"...raise the huge flags of Lenin and Stalin and Mao..."

Uh, do you really want to make that challenge to this City Council? I can see the red flags and Lenin statues now, right in the center of DLG Plaza!

12/19/2007 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Senor Gazpacho said...

Hiram and others that suggest that "The free market can do a far better job" hasn't looked deep into those gated and private communities. Birnam Wood and Hope Ranch owners seem to enjoy an extra layer of regulations with their own CC and Rs. Your notion that zoning for compatible uses is the only regulation required is a provocative position. I think your ideals would be rejected in every demographic.

Question; If I were Donald Trump and were to buy the "building" known as Paseo Chapala with the intent to put up a 40 story tower as my interpretation of a free market might be, would this project be acceptable in this "free market" you suggest?

12/19/2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Sorry Hiram,

Your pean to "Free Markets" only highlight your ignorance of basic economics.

Some of the highest standards of living in the world are socialist countries. Socialism, human rights, and democratic principles are not mutually exclusive.

You're fighting a war that has been over for 30 years. Even the Chinese (with WalMarts help) have seen the light.

Unfettered free markets means the guy with the most money wins...

Sounds like you should change your name to Gordon Gecko.

12/19/2007 12:59 PM  
Anonymous almost fan of sa-1 said...

hey sa-1

You say you know a lot about design.
I also know a lot about design.
I'll bet we already know each other.

Give me another hint. What part of town do you live in? Is it on Oceano near city college?

12/19/2007 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is never to late to say halt. Take a look at the Granada Building built before the earthquake standing lonely for decades because 8 feet was just too tall.

Activists generations before us did say halt to tall buildings in this town after seeing the folly of their mistake to turn this into a big time town.

Tie a ribbon around the Granada, and say Nevermore! One was enough. And one was too many.

Paseo Chapala and Chapala One will be the gravestones for over-growth for the next generations. Because they will be the last of their breed, just like the Granada Building back in the 1920's.

12/19/2007 5:40 PM  
Anonymous hiram johnson said...

I say, `Horseapples'.

The rich and unimaginative always end up controlling the government and they ooch the guidelines their way and they get lawyers to find loopholes in their favor.

Hey, the Central Pacific railroad did that, and we did a great job back in `09 on them. But guess what... their lawyers still bent all the rules and turned it all into guaranteed income for the railroad. That's why in this town the public dime (and not the railroad) has paid for 20 or 30 $5 million overpasses.

What happens in a truly free market? The entrepeneurs self organize to put together fantastic solutions. If Donald Trump tried a 40-story at Paseo Chapala the neighboring businesses would sue him to kingdom come.

Why do we have downtown parking? The can-do vision of real entrepeneurs. Business folks wanted the downtown design guidelines because they are good business. They didn't need the city to do it, it was the other way around.

But you know, the pantywaist socialists with no vision took it all over. Now it is a tit-for-tat game of shaving the rules and Bermant and Berkus are pros at that.

We waste their energy on all this pettiness. Set them free and they'll do great things!

12/19/2007 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:40 p.m.


12/19/2007 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Jane Addams said...

"Horseapples" indeed you old coot. You didn't mind my socialism when you were chasing my skirt at the convention in '14

As it was, SB was Pareto optimal so your entrepeneurs are at best, ginning up solutions to problems that don't exist. At worse they are risking a Pareto meltdown at the rate they're going.

As you rightfully point out, SB rejected your hidden hands as one L.A. in Ca. was enough. And look how they both exist today. LA and SB that is.

(Ok, Ok, it's really me sa1, in drag)

12/19/2007 11:42 PM  
Blogger George said...

Not to blogwhore too badly, Sara, but I simply couldn't pass up the chance to respond to Hiram Johnson but it took a blog entry. It's over at my place.

12/20/2007 9:29 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

"If Donald Trump tried a 40-story at Paseo Chapala the neighboring businesses would sue him to kingdom come."

"sue him"?? Not for violation of some "socialist" regulation presumably, so it must be a violation of contract -- what contract? What violation?

You're just parodying a a free market extremist, right? No one can actually be that irrational and uninformed.

12/20/2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11;42 p.m. jane adams

One L.A. is one too many.

We need smart growth and the H.O.T. principles here in Santa Barbara like we need L.A. or a hole in the head.

Smart growth may be o.k. for a new town but Santa Barbara is already fully built and a nice job of it.

Now some Johnny Come lately, who were raise in some big city like New York, want to come in and ruin what took 100 years to build.

Just for a second imagine another 100 of those monstrosities on Chapala built in our city. That,my friends, is smart growth at its finest.

We have seen the enemy, and it is smart growth.

Those smart growth advocates are going to get smart growth implemented here over my dead body.

12/20/2007 11:06 AM  
Anonymous hiram johnson said...

jqb you bet the property owners here have a reasonable expectation of viewshed of the sky! That would stop a 40-story building here cold.

The government that governs least governs best, but its governance should be as simple as possible but no simpler.

When we get into these endless regulations and picayune pettifogging pissing matches that degrades us all. We need just a few very simple rules and guidelines administered by can-do optimists.

We get these absurd comments that affordable housing is socialism, but intrusive zoning and planning is not! BOTH are socialism, and the glorious free market can provide both affordable housing and a better look and feel to this place than the nabobs of natter could ever provide.

On innovation Ventura County has it way over this benighted burg.

You pantywaist pessimists with gluteus candiness, you are the ones who keep this place from being great! We can have more people and a way, way better environment, but we won't get their by handwringing and handjiving.

12/20/2007 7:21 PM  
Blogger George said...

nabobs of natter?

Is that Hiram Johnson or Spiro Agnew?

We can have more people and a way, way better environment, but we won't get their by handwringing and handjiving.

Ah, we wont' get "their" what? (The typo always gives a person away.)

12/20/2007 10:42 PM  
Anonymous hiram johnson said...

That's Anagnostopolous to you, George.

Get their fabulous green town, more interesting, more fun, more sustainable!

With more people.

Ever notice a paradox George... where the population density is low, the folks are conservative, and where the population density his high, that's where you get the left. Red states... low density.

Blue - SF, NY, Chicago...

Since you're a bipolar (not in the psych sense) line-drawer, that is for you.

12/21/2007 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reply to 7:21 p.m.-hiram johnson ( you old coot)

Affordable housing IS socialism. Because the bleeding hearts are redistributing wealth by taking it away from the upper class and giving it as a gift to the lower class in the form of a windfall subsidy when they did absolutely nothing to deserve it , except for sitting on their lazy ass all day doing nothing.

But sound community planning is NOT.
Because good planning has one purpose and one purpose only and that is to protect the property rights and property values of those who already live here.

In other words it is planning and the zoning ordinance that protects YOUR property by preventing your neighbor to park a huge and ugly RV in his front yard, or to construct a plant right next door to you in a residential neighborhood that melts uses tires for recycling which causes noxious odors to invade your space.

Quite a difference, you old coot.

12/21/2007 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reply to george 10:36 p.m.

Yes the typo gives away the fact that the riter waqs in a hury, or is not a gud typist, or not a good spelller. (There are many brilliant people who are not good spellers and many good spellers who are not intelligent.)



Does that invalidate the person's ideas or comments.

No, of course not.

All it does is provides YOU with an artificial of feeling of superiority. If thats what you need to give your big ego a boost then knock yourself out.

12/21/2007 10:40 AM  
Anonymous just hate those monstrosities. said...

These monstrosities are not only on the wrong side of Chapala but they are IN THE WRONG TOWN. This is not las Vegas or Wilshire boulevard ( yet)

The architects of these two monstrosities ought to be tarred and feathered, and run out of town on a rail.

Please all of you sign the 40 feet height initiative petition when it comes out in January for signatures. I know I will, and everyone I know has said that they're going to gladly sigh it. It's just amazing how a full 99% of our residents simply hate these monstrosities and sure don't want any more like then in our beautiful town. It's the one thing that EVERYBODY can agree on. ( I heard that even the developer doesn't like how it looks. Just goes to prove how very deceiving architects drawings can be. accident? .....I don't think so.)

If the council doesn't get the message that the people just won't stand still for any more of these 4 story monstrosities it will surely be the end of their political career.

12/21/2007 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:08 a.m. hiram johnson

All the more reason to keep our city low density.

We have far too many socialists and pinko's in Santa Barbara already.

Yea red states.
Someday blue states will come around when the race wars starts.

12/21/2007 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:21 hiram johnson

What makes you think we want or need any more people here?

It is pretty nice. Pretty, pretty nice, just the way it is.

I thank God every day that there are not more people here who think like you do.

12/21/2007 7:44 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"That would stop a 40-story building here cold."

As it should be. Today was a perfect day to enjoy that crystal clear, unblemished skyshed of glorious mountains whilst ambling down main st. looking for the next overpriced, 50% off gift. Read my handjive...

"Blue - SF, NY, Chicago...

Red - Dallas, Orange County, Simi Valley...

"taking it away from the upper class and giving it as a gift to the lower class in the form of a windfall subsidy when they did absolutely nothing to deserve it , except for sitting on their lazy ass all day doing nothing."

Unfortunately, you're 180 degrees off on this. As one of the upperclass, I feel slighted.

"...which causes noxious odors to invade your space."

Much like my noble steed named, Hoof Hearted.

BTW - No need to use the formal SA-1,
amongst friends I prefer sa1 it's is oddly phallic in a picasso-esque sort of way...

12/21/2007 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both the Berkus and the Bermant Chapala projects were much, much taller and straighter to the street before they got hacked and whacked a bit by the Planning Commission. And they were still legal in the beginning.

Only the community conscience channeling through the PC got them to the zsize they are today ....which is still way too big ...but they are legal. Change the law!!!

So while some of you want Wendy to obey the law, the current zoning laws are ones we don't want obeyed to the letter.

How could the city council who loves to spot-zone and tinker with zoning protections every time it gives them more affordable ([price control) housing, not also down-size these orginal height restrictions so that it does not take a voter initiative to finally exercise the will of the people?


12/21/2007 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to admit its kind of funny I read these comments I grew up here most of my friends are local and our parents are as well. I hear this 99% of the city is against these buildings but Ive never heard anyone say anything about this till this blog entry. Personally I dont think they look terrible, they are not higher than Paseo Nuevos garage or the library garage. All these shrill voices remind me of when the "city" and the ever fearsome (but imaginary) "99%" wouldnt let Fess Parker build his hotel of course then it went to a vote and we all know how that turned out :)

Of course you might not know since you didnt live here then but heres a hint its the big hotel on the waterfront.

12/21/2007 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:21 - tourism is good for this community and the new downtown highrises are being rented short-term to more tourists. They are not becoming workforce housing. They are additions to our high-end tourism.

If we want to go back to the Santa Barbara of yesteryear we need to just take a look at the old General Plan that described our town based upon tourism and pensions. Old people and short-time tourists.

We never were much of a middle class town. Both former economic bases were what made us unique and we need to value their low-key impacts on our lifestyle here. Bring in families and kids and middle class economic demands and you totally distort the former allocation of resources and distribution of problems that we are facing right now.

If new development in this town takes us back to our bases of tourism and retirement, I say bring it on.

12/22/2007 8:11 AM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

Be careful what you wish for.... There are plenty of lovely buildings here higher than 40', and lots of little short ugly ones, too. There is a lot more to it than simple height.

12/22/2007 8:19 AM  
Anonymous power to the people said...

9:26 p.m.

We ARE in the process of changing the law.

In January we will be collecting the 5000 signatures necessary to put an initiative on next fall's election which will limit the buildings in Santa Barbara to 40 feet high instead of 60 feet.

You all be sire and sign the petition so we can make sure there are no m,ore super sized monstrosities built in Santa Barbara.

12/22/2007 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11;21 p.m.

Where have you been my friend?

These two monstrosities have been the talk of the town for months now. People are talking about them everywhere I go.

Just in my own life I have had occasion to talk to literally hundreds of residents about these two buildings over the last several months and I have yet to hear one person who likes them but have personally heard a couple hundred say that they hate them.

If you apply that overwhelming sentiment to the whole population of city voters it is quite clear that well over 90% of them simply do not like these buildings and the vast majority of them go so far as to say they hate them.

Af you doubt what I say just ask at random any 10 people you run into whether they like these 2 buildings and want more of them or dislike these 2 buildings and don't want more like them, and you will see that 9 in 10 say they don't like them and sure don't want any more.

12/22/2007 6:38 PM  
Anonymous we the people said...

reply to wineguy 8:19 a.m.

Speak for yourself.

As far as I am concerned all buildings over 40 feet lack human scale and block sunlight and block views.

And tall super-sized monster buildings hold more people and we sure don't need any more people here.

Our town is wonderful and livable and desirable because of has a small town character. This small town character is due to it being 99% one and 2 story buildings. these new 4 story monsters are not compatible with the character of our town. If I wanted to live on Wilshire Boulevard I would move there.

our goal is to be sustainable and to live within our resources. Our south coast resources including our water supply and our street transportation system have a carrying capacity of 200,000 people. The South Coast now already has 200,000 people so we are already fully built out to the carrying capacity of our resources.

200,000 can be sustainable. What do you want to do? Double our population on the south coast to 400,000. Due to our geography of being 4 miles wide by 30 miles long we have no place to ass more streets. So a doubling of our population will double our traffic congestion. Our streets are now already fully congested and it is very hard now to find a parking space.
Doubling our population will cause our current high quality of life to go way down. Forcing the poor to live downtown will result in a huge amount of gang violence downtown. it will be more vibrant with gang life but al, the residents will take their business to Goleta and our downtown merchants will move their business to Goleta. And our wonderful downtown will be one giant 4 story "project" ghetto with 50,000 poor all packed in at high density.

So, since the vast majority of those who live here want we desire to limit our population growth and since our city is built out horizontally to the urban limit line and the only way to go is up vertical, the very best way to control population growth is to control the height of buildings.

And that is exactly what a group of us is going to do. due to the councils failure to take the proper action, we the people are taking the power away from them and into our own hands, by placing a height initiative on the ballot for next fall's general election. This ballot initiative is going to be a slam dunk. I have spoken with 100 people already about it and well over 90 (90%) assured me that they would vote for it. So it's, in affect, a done deal.

Pro-growthers look out! The tide has turned against you big time, and you have the two architects who developed those two monstrosities on Chapala to thank for it.

12/22/2007 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you even compare a four story building to "wilshire blvd"? They are not even close and what poor are moving downtown they cant afford these places.

And while its fun to throw around labels just because someone does not agree with you dosent mean they are pro growth. Personally Im sorry a lot of you moved here and decided to tell us how to live our lives and run the city but change happens however Ive seen far worse architecture and for the area these are in town they dont seem that bad after all the Andulucia, the Mall, etc all are 4 stories or more so how did this change the character of the neighborhood?

12/22/2007 10:19 PM  
Anonymous john muir said...

Take down the County Courthouse towers. They are over 40 feet.

If you want fewer people in Santa Barbara, you can take personal action to achieve your goal:

1)Move away.
2)Donate your land to the land trust and ask it to be remediated to its native state for perpetuity.

The best thing that we could do for the environment here is to restore the valley filled by Lake Cachuma and let the Santa Ynez river run free. The steelhead would then be in much better shape.

And stop the flow of Central Valley water to Santa Barbara. The Central Valley used to be an amazing wetland; steamers used to go from San Francisco to Bakersfield. Restore it!

If you really want this place to be an environmental wonderland, get serious about it. Your presence has helped ruin it, but it is never to late. You can leave, remediate your land to its natural state, and help us cut off all water to the South Coast. Cutting off water will reduce the population density here big time.

And by the way, let's restore Hetch Hetchy.

12/23/2007 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:19 p.m.

It's the next 100 4 story monstrosities, just like it, to come that are going to change our character ( and for the worse).

I respect your opinion but you are in the minority.
I ask you to respect the opinion of the vast majority who just don't want any more of these monstrosities downtown.

12/23/2007 11:30 AM  

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