Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, February 18, 2008

Community Post: Voice from Chapala Street

Much has been said about the large construction projects sprouting up on Chapala Street between the 300 and 700 blocks. They are undoubtedly large and out of character with Santa Barbara. (And it appears not financially successful; the first completed project, Paseo Chapala, at the corner of Chapala and De La Guerra, has not sold all of its condo units, and has been holding open houses weekly, for the past six months, for multiple unsold units.)

However, the Chapala development plague is currently infecting West De La Guerra St as well. The 100 block of West De La Guerra is mostly commercial and the 200 block is partially commercial and these two blocks look like they may be going the way of the Chapala developments.

The precedent-setting development is the 121 West De La Guerra mixed-used project. It is, like its Chapala breathren, obnoxiously too large. I know of what I speak, I live in the 300 block of West De La Guerra, and have to walk by it daily and have lately been watching its fiourth story being added. But the most truly obnoxious aspect of the development, and the one that could have a long-ranging legacy on future developments, is that it has a negative setback!

The front of the building extends right up to the property line; this means that the vertical construction occurs at the terminus of the sidewalk. This is truly unsightly; even Paseo Chapala doesn't attempt this form of architectural blight. But more amazingly, the second story of the 121 West De La Guerra project extends over the sidewalk! Talk about canyonization.

This type of architecture is frequently seen in Europe, but I don't recall ever seeing it in Santa Barbara. How could this have been approved? What were they thinking? Does anyone have any answers?

T. Borden

Labels: ,


Anonymous Shoreline Shark said...

It's funny to look at developments like that, and then hear stories about homeowners being hassled over things like enclosing carports and trimming hedges.

2/18/2008 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Sammy said...

I like the new projects on Chapala (which I'm sure will always have well-trimmed landscaping!), but I haven't checked out what's happening on De La Guerra yet...

2/18/2008 4:40 PM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

S. Shark: Have you been hearing stories about my carport and hedge again...?

2/18/2008 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city council housing maddness providing homes for the entire middle class who wants them in our town has to go somewhere, so the city chose the neighborhoods where their would be the least resistence (and the fewest organized voters).

Few residential owners, lots of renters and lots of city housing in this part of town, so no one complains.

You are a few days late and a few dollars short complaining now. But rest assured, you would not have been listened to anyway. The city is hell bent on providing "affordable" housing, and if they have to get it by blighting a part of town permanently, this is what they will continue to do.

This is the message that has gone out to the Planning staff and boards. Dump it the side streets downtown where no one will complain.

And if they do, ignore them because the most important thing it to cram down housing anyplace that will not protest.

Kind of a Catch 22, don't you think?

2/18/2008 5:42 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Just a gentle reminder that if you plan on commenting, please use the Name/URL section as we are not publishing "anonymous" comments any longer. Only two in the last few days have not been published AND you can use any name you want, just take an identity please.

2/18/2008 6:42 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

The comment above is by ANONYMOUS
2/18/2008 5:42 PM
and is totally ignorant about how affordable housing policies work.

To follow the earlier justification for building walls on Chapala St. to rise directly from the outside edge of the public sidewalk with no setback, that is because Chapala St. is so wide, two lanes in each direction.

West De La Guerra St. there in the blocks west of Chapala St. also must be one of those wide Cabrillo type boulevards, so that explains it all so clearly.

2/18/2008 6:48 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Yep -- slipped me by. I'll leave it up now since you referred to it. My apologies for missing that. Must have hit the wrong button before I commented myself.

2/18/2008 7:01 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Everyone needs to start asking the City Council, and the CC-appointed Planning Commission, why the heck are they approving these projects!

They are ruining this city, block by block.

2/18/2008 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Shoreline Shark said...

I have a confession, wineguy. I'm the one who complained. I found your house to be unsightly as I wheeled past it with my shopping cart filled with aluminum cans and roadkill, so I decided to report you to help clean up our town.

2/19/2008 12:01 AM  
Anonymous less is more said...

4:40 p.m.

I'm sure glad that you are in the minority.

It is a known fact that about 99 out of 100 people in town absolutely can't stand those two monstrosities on Chapala.

One ugly monster was designed by Design works architects and the other ugly monster was designed by Piekert architects.

Everyone needs to tell these architects that we don't appreciate their ruining our beloved small town character and charm and these monstrosities are not compatible with santa Barbara and if they dare design another one as horrible as these two are that we going to run them put of town.

Which architect is responsible for the monster at 122 West De la Guerra? These architects need to learn that the penalty for designing such a monstrosity is public humiliation and no more clients. That should have an effect.

2/19/2008 1:10 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Good morning. Interesting topic. It might be useful in both the short term and long term to compile a list of the worst architectural examples of planning in Santa Barbara. I can think of quite a few examples to mention.

Part of the problem besides lack of set backs, canyonization, building heights, is the very notion of architecture in Santa Barbara. If you look around, you can see that the vocabulary of architecture of Santa Barbara is a vast repetition of politically correct fenestration, whereby repeating a window from somewhere else, one that the landmark's commission always likes, a little tower, a tile treatment from the Courthouse etc, is the modus operandi. This poverty of inspiration, this repetitious treatment, often comes from landmark buildings yet good architectural cannot be simply this dull repetition of the politically approved. There is something wrong with the process that makes such repetitions virtuous. I can know by looking at a new building where all the details come from. It's too much a cookie cutter world.

We really need to get this new General Plan in place so that the nature of neighborhoods is better understood and we understand where we're are going with planning, what we want to achieve is a common goal in the larger scale. We need a larger perspective than "just the building, the lot, and the rules. This is too piecemeal, this going along one by one as the projects come up.

Let's work on our list of the worst mistakes and see what we can learn.
How about that building across the street from the old Danica House on Micheltorena? Look at it! Superficially Spanish Colonial Revival but a disaster--a neighborhood killer.

2/19/2008 6:41 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

First of all let me thank the person who pointed me to the Comstock site with the video. It brought tears to my eyes (must be the sake). I think at times I'm the only one that appreciates the beauty and natural serenity of our area, a place so uncommon in the world. Of course that's not true (i'm not the only one).

I wonder how anyone with a soul could aspire (conspire) to take it away with only a marginal profit in mind.

Do they realize that people in the most far flung corners of the world know SB by reputation or a brief "once in a life time" visit?

I was humbled tonight by an Asian Gentleman who had the means but not the opportunity to live amongst us. His dream was to retire Santa Barbara.

Thank you Mr. Comstock for doing the right thing.

For 25 years now I've had my morning cup and a smoke listening to the waves crash on the beach...I hope it's the last sound I hear.

2/19/2008 7:12 AM  
Anonymous sigla said...

The city errs from the outset on all these monster projects and in every one of the proposed monster projects in the pipeline by:

1. Rezoning the area, stripping it of all prior planning limitations as to density and number of units.

2. Granting wholesale modifications with no justification, that exceed what is appropriate for the use and the location of the land.

ALERT: Plan Santa Barbara 2030 which was to address these critical planning malfunctions is now officially DOA.

There is a serious malaise in the planning and development issues in Santa Barbara. This is something this city took a lot of pride in in prior years.

Read the old 1973 city General Plan and see how far we have fallen. We are losing the city inch by inch, and no elected official has a true grasp of this seriousness --- Francisco is the only one right now who even cares.

Not sure many appreciate the extent of the lack of leadership in this critical area. There is a vacuum of leadership. City council needs a major house cleaning. And until this happens, citizen warriors need to rise up and be heard.

Only the voices of developers and non-profits getting city grants define todays planning agenda. Follow the money for both their motivations. Self-preservation comes first for both forces that badly affect city planning decisions.

City council and especially city staff view the residents as nuisances to be barely tolerated and then assidiously ignored.

It should not be that way. But too many uninterested residents let this happen, so there is plenty of blame to go around.

2/19/2008 8:15 AM  
Blogger Greg Knowles said...

This subject seems to be a lot like the chicken and the egg. I have no idea what the right answer is. There are a lot of good points made here. Sometimes I wish I knew Santa Barbara when it was full of orchards and farm land.

2/19/2008 12:25 PM  
Anonymous hate monstrosities said...

don jose 6;41 a.m.

That ugly bulky building you mention that is across from the Danica house on Micheltorena and Chapala was designed by Barry Berkus architect.

I agree with the writer who suggested that we publish the name of architects who design these monstrosities so they will be ashamed of themselves.

2/19/2008 4:36 PM  
Anonymous keep Santa Barbara beautiful said...


Whats the comstock sight?

2/19/2008 4:38 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Sorry to drift a bit but I see the city of Vallejo is going bankrupt.

"Public safety contracts for police and fire services make up 80 percent of the city's general fund."

Who's next? Gauranteed raises for the next three years anyone?

2/19/2008 5:11 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

9:13 through 9:15 AM -- sorry but we aren't publishing comments by anonymous any longer. Please use an identity of some sort with the Name option or use a Blogger/Open ID. Thanks.

2/19/2008 7:30 PM  
Anonymous penny pincher said...

Lots of cities use most of their income for staff salaries and benefits. There is very little discretionary spending or cash left for capital improvements once most of it gets dedicated for personnel, both present and former.

80% going for salaries and benefits is normal, to probably low. Anyone know what the city of SB ratio is of income to salary and benefit expenses?

Using more and more present city money to fund retired past city workers is probably what brought down Vallejo, as well as San Diego and many other municipalities.

What can city workers actually do if they do not get their union bargaining demands met? Work slowdowns, "blue flu", sick-outs? Is this how a city should really be run?

2/19/2008 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Plagerer In Chief Wins, but Loses said...

Gheesh, ran the numbers and 36% of those who voted for Obama in Wisconsin's open primary labeled themselves conservative or very conservative or labeled themselves as Republicans.

Hillary won hands down among registered Democrats but Republican and conservative Independents stuffed the ballot box against her.

Which only means the Republicans are more afraid of running against her than phony Obama who can't even read someone else's speech without looking at his crib notes.

This primary process with these worthless caucuses and now open primaries subject to ballot stuffing abuse is one lousy way to pick a new leader of the free world.

It makes me sick that this slick upstart has wormed his way into abusing this process. McCain will beat him, thank goodness.

2/19/2008 11:18 PM  
Anonymous city watch said...

30 years ago in 1977, when my wife went to work for the city, the city had 600 employees and 85,000 population.

Now 30 years later the city only has 95,000 population but there are now 1,200 city employees doing basically the same total work. What is wrong with this picture. It used to be a manager with a secretary and a few workers, now they have a manager, an executive assistant, an administrative assisteat at $6000 a month, a senior middle manager, a junior middle manager, a senior supervisor, a junior supervisor and then the same workers who do the same actual work. What's with all these middle managers? Every single department has become a little kingdom of it's own and spends every penny it can get its hands on. The services are not so different from 1977 when they had the same level of basic police and fire protection and the library was the same, etc, etc,

I just retired this years after paying into social security for 30 years and although I made exactly twice as much as my wife who worked for the city these last 30 years my social security retirement monthly check is exactly half as much as my wife's city retirement check. this means that the city retirement pays 4 times as much retirement as the federal government. City workers can retire at 55 and I had to wait to 67.

Also, the city just put into effect a plan of working 9 hours a day and taking every-other Friday off. My wife's boss, who lives in Ventura, had been getting paid for 40 hours a week but came in regularly at 8:30 each day, regularly took 1 1/3 or 2 hour lunch each day, and left at 4;30 each day to beat the traffic. Now that he gets every other Friday off, due to supposedly working from 7;30 to 5:30, he still comes in at the same 8:30 each day,due to traffic, still takes the same 1 1/2 or 2 hour lunch, and still leaves at the same 4:30 each day, due to traffic, and so gets paid for 10 days but now works only 9. And this is a common occurrence. All the city accomplished by their new schedule is paying its employees for 10 days but are getting 9 days of work. What is wrong with this picture?

I made one mistake in my life and that is not working for the city.

2/19/2008 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Another all-time terrible job of planning and results, poor architecture and terrible oversight is the building on North East Corner of Milpas and Montecito Street. Terrible architecture, no set-back, ridiculous fenestration, and a stupid little useless tower. What a botch! Who did this one and how did it happen? Was the City sleeping on the job? Or was it because the building was on Milpas and nobody cared?

2/20/2008 6:06 AM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

Less is More is once again speaking from thy derrière.

How do you know that sammy (we have names now and don't need to refer to the posts by time) is in the minority?

And to allege that 99% of the population "can't stand" the new developments on Chapala is simply ridiculous.

There is a silent majority out here that understands the need for progress and not letting the community stagnate. That's why we vote for certain candidates and support certain projects.

Just because the same faces show up to Council, Supervisor and Planning Commission meetings to whine about "GROWTH" being the apocalypse doesn't mean the rest of us are listening, but I understand the cathartic value of you making posts on BlogaBarbara, so go for it!

2/20/2008 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

What is happening to Santa Barbara? In the last 20 years, I have watched our downtown devolve. We used to have great, interesting boutiques and mom-and-pop shops. Now we look like Sherman Oaks or any other SoCal shopping Meca: Juicy, Coach, Saks, Old Navy, etc. Then there's LaCumbre Plaza: Ruth's Chris, Marmelade Cafe(ugh), Coach, Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Tiffany's, and now I hear maybe a Neiman Marcus?

I now prefer to shop downtown Ventura, Main Street, which is what Santa Barbara used to be.

It's so sad. We've become what we moved here to avoid.

2/20/2008 7:20 AM  
Anonymous sigla said...

Does the Milas building have housing in it? If it has housing, it gets an automatic green-light which gives green a bad name.

2/20/2008 7:55 AM  
Anonymous city watch said...

don jose

You ain't seen nothin yet.

The city staff has in mind for the entire Milpas corridor to be designated as high density smart growth mixed use projects. This means that very soon we will see dozens and dozens of 4 story massive buildings with no setback just like those monstrosities on Chapala.

Who is going to defend and protect Milpas Street?

2/20/2008 11:03 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

DJ hit it on the head with the comment about cookie cutter fake-it fascades. This is the Orange County mentality all over again.

What generates this lazy design approach is some big city outsiders came in and figured they understand what this community is all about. It must mean more and more of the same old suff. Charming Santa Barbara is tile roofs and Spanish stucco. That's what they mean by "no change", "don't lose the small town atmosphere", "they won't mind four story outrageously priced, uninspired condos of any quantity as long as you make it look something like the Courthouse".

This is offensive pandering.

How about some eclectic high quality structural art? How about designing for design first and maximum sq footage last? How about designing and using the small amount of space left for something the whole community can share in?...and I don't mean another stinkin soccer field!

All the beautiful mountain views are gone from El Colegio. Hollister west of Fairview will soon lose it's views.

Has anyone really done the math for what it will cost for the infrastructure required for the Ten Thousand people UCSB wants to bring into the Good Land in the next 6-8 years? Notice they call it a 20 year plan but most the housing is first up on the build out schedule. Read the LDRP!

2/20/2008 2:44 PM  
Anonymous less is more said...

voice of rezon(e)

We will find our just which of us is taking out of their derrière after next Fall's election when the height initiative put in place a 40 feet height limit down town is on the ballot and passes with more than a 80% vote.
(where was your silent majority?)

Would you like to put your money where your mount is and make a $10,000 bet as to whether it will pass or not? It would be the easiest $10,000 I ever made.
Put up or shut up!

2/20/2008 6:54 PM  
Anonymous lower Westie said...

One of the ugliest buildings in town is the Galleria at La Cumbre and State. (B. Berkus design)

And I hate to step on her grave, but I'm over the Spanish influence brought about by Peal Chase. How long shall we live under her influence?

I prefer a Japanese influence. I love the pagoda house on the corner of Valerio and Grand. More of that, please.

2/20/2008 7:27 PM  
Anonymous the chupacabra said...

Less is More; I will bet you how about one thousand it wont pass by 80%, even better if it passes but dosent pass by at least 70% you owe me two thousand. If its above 78% or more you get your thousand.
We deposit the money in a escrow account at SBBT or any local bank along with a signed agreement. You have been stating that 99 out of 100 locals hate the chapala project and it would be the easiest money you ever made and then taunting others to put up or shut up well lets go then! Im tired of hearing you throw unfounded numbers around now lets see if you are a true believer in them or not.
Would you like to meet at the bank next week? we can even open a interest bearing account so one of us will get a couple dollars more. And by the way has it even qualified yet, you would think with 99 out of 100 people so up in arms about what was going on they would be fighting to sign the petition for ballot space and the supporters would have already turned in 25,000 signatures.
Your move - Monday or Tuesday would be best for me. For the record my personal take on this is that its not the buildings that are a problem its many of the activists in town who bother me, Im reminded to often of pro-lifers and their unmovable opinions by the progressive element lately.

2/20/2008 11:11 PM  
Anonymous less is more said...


I never said 99% would vote for the initiative
I said 99% of the people I talk to hate those 2 new monstrosities on Chapala. Of course I don't get to talk to everybody so for sake of a more accurate argument lets say that 90% hate those 2 monstrosities. or 89%. The point is not the exact number. The point is that it appears as if an overwhelming majority hate those 2 monstrosities.

Many have been asking the city to do a community survey to determine how the people feel about growth and big 4 story monster buildings. So far the city refuses. Gee I wonder why? Is it maybe that they are afraid of the results?

Now as to the bet. You said that that there is a silent majority that is in favor of having 4 story buildings. Since I know this not to be true I offered to bet that you were wrong in what you say. but the bet, my friend, is that the initiative passes. Yes, I estimate that it will pass easily pass and by a large majority and somewhere around 80%. Yes it could be 70% but who cares what the exact majority is as long as it passes. I will give you a point that I may have been slightly exaggerating in the exact numbers but I was only trying to make a point that it appears to be an overwhelming majority.

I will bet you $1000- that it passes. Not by any certain percent but just that it passes. But remember your claim about the silent majority. Basically I'm betting you that your statement was wrong when yiou said that there is a silent majoruty who support big story buildings.
Yes, I'll meet you at the bank Monday afternoon at 1:00 with $1000. Just tell me where?

P.s. And for your information I checked and the petitions are not yet out for signature, which explains why there are not yet 25,000.

2/21/2008 7:31 AM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

Less is More, that's a tempting offer but it's not about money it's about RESULTS.

I'd rather take my $10K and send some to Direct Relief International and some to Obama's campaign (plus I'll need to keep some in reserve to donate to the campaign against lowering the building height limits and I'll also send some to the campaign to pass the competing measure we'll put on the ballot).

Besides, you'd probably just spend the $$$ on something for yourself, since the NIMBY mentality is almost exclusively self-centered.

And to City Watch, when you ask who is going to "defend" Milpas Street, I ask: Defend it from what? Are you satisfied with the mishmash of poorly planned buildings there?

What if redevelopment to more modern, greener, energy-efficient buildings could reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions? Would you still be against it? I thought so.

With all the talk of environmentalism in this town most of it is just talk. Too bad...

2/21/2008 8:37 AM  
Anonymous HR Pufnstuf, Mayor of Living Island said...

Good thread, people have connected the high salaries and vacuous craniums in City Hall and on the City Council to these developments which are neither creative, significant, nor needed in this community. They never should have been approved. When was the last APARTMENT BUILDING built in Santa Barbara for chrissakes?!?

Public shame for the so-called architects that produce this garbage is not unreasonable. Bermant Development Co and Peikert Group may be notoriously known in Santa Barbara's future for bad design, in contrast to those like Eli Luria and George Washington Smith who are known for good design and long standing contributions to the built community?

State Street looks so much like South Coast Plaza now that the only way to tell you're in SB anymore is when Chuy rides by on his bike doing a wheelie, like he has for the last 25 years.

2/21/2008 12:20 PM  
Anonymous the Chupacabra said...

Less is More, I never said there was a silent majority that was someone else. As for the bet I wont take it on simply winning I didnt say it would not pass just not by those numbers.

Personally I am not entirely for banning them outright as I think there is some decent places that are four stories and as for setbacks El Paseo comes right up to the sidewalk. I think a lot of the proposed structures perhaps are not right but I dont favor a outright ban, everything should stand or fall on its own merits rather than just blanket condemnation to me thats just to reactionary.

And by the way when I listen to some people on this blog say part of the space on projects should be set aside for the community. I can only ask will they lead by example and post their address so we can wander around the section of their yard they have set aside for the public?

2/21/2008 8:14 PM  
Anonymous less is more said...

voice of rezon(e)

You said something interesting and got my attention.

Please share with us just what this competing measure you talk about putting on the ballot will be?

Maybe it's something worthwhile?
Believe it or not, I happen to also be an environmentalist. Its just that I also consider the urban environment where we live and spend most of our time, as an important environment worthy of protection, not just the rural environment like Naples.
I would like to protect them both equally, but not to protect Naples by sacrificing the urban environment where we live and spend most of our time by using TDR (transfer of development rights). that concept sucks! there has to be a better way of protecting naples like buying it with tax dollars as open space park like they are doing back east with their multi-million dollar programs.

2/21/2008 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Free the Enterprise said...

Who would ever want to build an apartment building when the city is demanding 50% of the units be mandated affordable? This is a grotesque human experiment gone badly awry.

But it has kept developers from building anything more in this town. You created this mess with your misguided good intentions.

Now the rest of us have to live with the unintended consequences. Who wants to live in a place where 50% of the people are getting a free ride; and you are not. Take that to ObamaLand.

2/22/2008 7:04 AM  
Anonymous HR Pufnstuf, mayor of Living Island said...

Was it good intentions or stealthy elitist design? $700 a month renters have little disposable income to spend at Wahoo's Fish Tacos or the Van's Store.

Santa Barbara's community activitst power brokers are the ones to blame for this with their NIMBY oppositions, overt elitism, and cloaked racism.

Welcome to the backhanded form of Santa Communism, where the city controls all rental development so completely that nobody would even dare propose something that might make sense.

Soon Santa Barbara will truly reap what the so-called environmentalists and community planners of yesteryear so carefully have sown.

By the way, do the $80K kids who work for the city, drive their bimmers and mini poor mans mercedes, etc., 4,000 mountain bikes, and pay $15 for an appetizer and $20 for a cocktail, really expect that the City will not go bankrupt before they hit retirement?

By the way, what do all these people do anyway, do we really need them? True Santa Barbarans are getting hosed by the fools that run this town.

2/22/2008 11:11 AM  
Anonymous No vacanies said...

The problem is not the lack of housing. Santa Barbara has plenty of housing, apartments, illegal units, and low-income subsidized housing.

There is a lack of turnover and no vacancies. That is the problem. And that is the reality.

You can't build any more housing. So people have to resign themselves to a long wait for a vacancy. That is their problem; not ours.

2/23/2008 4:52 PM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

free the enterprise:

I'm sorry to be the one to tell you but every time you pay taxes (payroll, property or income) you're subsidizing those of lesser means, whether it makes your blood boil or not.

I don't have a strong opinion about subsidizing housing but will say that requiring some "affordable" units in either apartment, condo or mixed-use developments at least allows some developer money to subsidize local folks, allowing a bit more local control of where the subsidy ends up.

2/23/2008 7:31 PM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

less is more:

You'll have to be a bit patient to see what or what doesn't end up on the ballot.

Regarding your brand of "environmentalism" I'm afraid you've been co-opted by the "neighborhood advocate" NIMBY "haves" who want you to think stopping vertical development in urban areas (within a City boundary or urban limit line) is somehow better for the environment. It's unfortunately a sham perpetrated by those that are a bit more selfish and less community-minded than perhaps you and I might be.

The point is - proper long-range, visionary community and regional planning would help resolve many of these conflicts, but it takes strong, unifying political leadership to pull that off, and sadly we've none of that in this community.

2/23/2008 7:40 PM  
Anonymous less is more said...

voice of rezon(e)

You slightly misunderstood me.

I fully agree with you that building vertically is better for the environment OUTSIDE OF THE URBAN LIMIT LINE.

My point was simply that there is mote to it than this. I consider the land inside the urban limit line where ewe all live and spend 99% of our lives to also be an environment. And that this environment is every bit as important to our quality of life and well being as the rural environment located outside the urban limit line.

My goal is to protect BOTH environments at the same time and not to protect one while hurting the other.

There are three possible basic scenarios;

1. Horizontal growth ( sprawl which hurts the rural environment outside the urban limit line, while reducing congestion of people and traffic inside the urban limit line.

2. Vertical growth ( high density smart growth) , which protects the rural environment outside the urban limit line but which cause significant congestion of both people and traffic inside the urban limit line, and which, in the case of charming Santa Barbara, will ruin the beloved and cherished small town historic character .

3. No growth , or extremely slow growth, in which a community decides to put in place growth management zoning ordinance and height restrictions in order to preserve the quality of life by having less congestion of both people, and traffic congestion, and to preserve the desired small town historic and charming one and two story character, and to have a population number that lives within the capacity of the resources and is therefore sustainable.

Some say that growth is inevitable but that is not the case. it is change that is inevitable. Case in point ; the city of Santa Barbara has had a flat and constant population number since the 2000 census according to both the state and Federal census bureau.
Some say that to not grow is to wither and die. But this is not true. Case in Point; Santa Barbara , which has not grown in population for 7 years now, has an extremely vital and healthy economy and community.
We have a huge tourist industry and a huge economy based on our university and colleges. Plus we have enough wealthy people who bring in an incredible amount of money into our community from their outside investments.

The point is what we have now works and works well, as Santa Barbara is the most beautiful and most desirable place to live in the entire country. it had a heathy and vibrant economy.
I believe in the wise old saying which is so very true;


and also there is another law of planning called " "UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES".

to mess with what we now have by putting into place high density smart growth will have "UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES."
the proof of that is those two new MONSTROSITIES ON CHAPALA.

Please folks: "iI it ain't broke , don't fix it."

Less is More

2/24/2008 2:55 PM  
Anonymous It is not broke and it is not broken said...

Good point. We don't need to grow. We just need to keep making ourselves more desirable, and that alone will attract increasing wealth to this area.

The whole point of growth is to bring in more income and that issue is moot when the same numbers of residents bring in more wealth, just by being wealthier and wealthier. Excellent observation.

The "grow or die" argument needs to be deep-sixed and exposed for what it always has been: a developer-driven agenda.

Developers best strategy is remodeling what is already here into more high-end homes, which will bring in more money for them, for the community, and for the taxes: sales, income and property taxes. This is a win win all around.

And if people want to preserve the middle class, they can take their money and help buy them homes in Ventura County and demand they take the bus to work if they still want to work in Santa Barbara.

But we don't need middle class jobs in Santa Barbara. With improved local transportation, we can get all our middle-class supported services in Ventura County where the middle class can still live. And live well.

Time to think outside the box. Change is the new buzz word. No sense still doing things the same old way: build, build, build. Nope, change requires rethinking the entire equation, and acting on it.

Or, is now the argument that change is something other people are supposed to do, but not us?

Nope, it is time to realize our best growth is the growth of the increasingly privileged class to pick up the slack when the present housing stock become available.

2/24/2008 6:26 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home