Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bishop Ranch Pulls Application

This just in from Bishop Ranch LLC -- one less issue to talk about in November. -- Sara

Bishop Ranch Withdraws City of Goleta General Plan Amendment Initiation Application

July 11, 2008 - - An application to initiate the study of options for the future of Bishop Ranch scheduled to be heard by the Goleta City Council next Tuesday, July 15, 2008, has been withdrawn by the applicant following the release of a staff report recommending denial of the requested initiation. The project hearing will not take place.

Not wanting to waste valuable City of Goleta time or resources, the applicant stated there is no reason to move forward. “It is very clear that while there is substantial support in the community to fully study and review the future of Bishop Ranch that same support does not exist at the City, neither with the staff nor with the council,” stated Michael Keston, the applicant.

The subject Bishop Ranch property, first zoned for housing in 1951, is a 240-acre site along the 101 Freeway and neighbored on two sides by homes. According to public records it has not been farmed since the 1940s. The application was the result of model community collaboration, a four-month Community Working Group process undertaken from late 2007 through January 2008 involving hundreds of local residents.

“In withdrawing this plan, it is important that I publicly thank the hundreds of Goleta residents who worked with us for long hours to fully understand the challenges the City faces to fulfill State housing demands without having to build high density multi-family housing,” added Keston.

“A diversity of Goleta residents came forward and worked hard to create a consensus plan, I appreciate the effort and I regret this vision will not go forward.”

Without the plan there will be no project hearing on Tuesday. Keston requested all those who have indicated that they will attend the Goleta City Council meeting stay home and enjoy time with their families.

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Anonymous Eckermann said...

I thought that Keston had more gumption than to be frighten off by a mere staff recommendation and a skittish elected official running for office. Although I have a feeling that this is not over. Just now it will be the applicant and not the City of Goleta that has to foot the bill for the EIR. Nonetheless, as I opined in a previous post, the Orange County monster has not been vanquished and banished from Bishop Ranch. Keston will not give up so easily, he'll be back with some other agricultural land gobbling project.

7/12/2008 12:02 PM  
Blogger spartanforever101 said...

After serving on the Working Group for nearly four months and actually taking the time to learn the facts I am very disappointed. The General Plan as prepared by Connell et al calls for real high density (LA type urban density) to meet the demand by the state. I would much rather have Bishop Ranch. How silly some people are. This property is in the middle of our city, right along the 101 and instead of Bishop Ranch we are going to get development on the Gaviota Coast - some big victory for us.

Low density homes built over the next 20 years on in fill property instead of four story apartments makes a lot more sense. Would have been good to see if the so called environmental experts would have come to the same conclusion as us regular folks - more than 100 - who sat through the long meetings - that Bishop Ranch was the right thing to take a good look at right now.

Time to buy raw land on the Gaviota coast and make some money as we kiss that real open space good bye.

7/12/2008 3:51 PM  
Anonymous AN50 said...

I certainly hope so!

7/12/2008 5:43 PM  
Anonymous So Called Environmental Expert said...

Some people are not quite understanding this concept of SPRAWL are they?

If only Blogabarbara and Noozhawk received a royalty payment from all the paid shills who are commenting at these web sites.

7/12/2008 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Dan Hill said...

It's a head fake until just after the next election.

7/12/2008 8:48 PM  
Blogger Kinnoley said...

Didn't Goleta voters elect people like Roger Aceves and Michael Bennett to get us out of our housing mess with the State of California by looking at projects like the Bishop Ranch?

Are they now flip flopping under pressure and sticking with a General Plan that has to nothing but lawsuits and rejection from the State?

With friends like Bennett and Aceves, who needs enemies!

7/13/2008 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

With all due respect for the carefully considered opinion of spartanforever101, I believe that it is naive to think that somehow allowing the development of Bishop Ranch would 1) replace densely designed infill projects or 2) save the Gaviota Coast from the fate that has befallen the Orange County Coast. In fact, development occurs in increments, one piece of open space consumed after another, like eating an elephant. I am not confident in the political will of this community to just say no. But it is unrealistic to think that saying yes, just this once, will make it any easier to say no later on. Down at the end of that primrose path it looks a lot like Irvine.

7/13/2008 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Joe Goleta said...

Keston's application with the city was really just a collection of lies and half-truths repeated over and over -- the same ones repeated here by the Spartan guy.

Lie No. 1: Bishop Ranch in unsuitable for agriculture. This one is ridiculous on its face. It's surrounded by ag, and I happen to know farmers who'd love to work that land. It's sat unfarmed not because it won't support crops, but because Keston doesn't want any real farming there. Without it he can keep saying what a useless bit of ag land it is.

Lie No. 2: Goleta will become an urban dystopia, a kind of Oxnard north, without development at Bishop Ranch. While it's true the city's current housing plans stress too much crappy, clustered apartment buildings, this argument is silly. Putting 1,200 homes -- nearly all unaffordable to the average Goleta family -- on Bishop Ranch is not the salvation of Goleta. It's just that: a whole bunch of unaffordable homes. Anybody who thinks putting them there will somehow stop development along the Hollister corridor is deluding himself. As long as Towbes and the rest can make good money building high-density crap with the city's blessing, they will. Let's remember the city gave Towbes $6 million to build his Sumida Gardens project.

Lie No. 3: Bishop Ranch is infill property. This is more half-truth than an outright lie. The property is bordered on three sides by agriculture and the fourth by the 101. If you look at an aerial map you can kinda see how it might qualify, but Keston tries to make it sound like the ranch is surrounded by development. That's not the case.

Also, I have to say that the statement, instead of Bishop Ranch we are going to get development on the Gaviota Coast, is remarkably stupid. To suggest that the two are even remotely connected is deeply dishonest.

I'm not opposed to developing Bishop Ranch if it's done in a smart way that really benefits Goleta, not just Keston's wallet. Dumping 1,200 homes on the property -- even if it takes 13 years, as Keston said it might -- is just greedy and fails to acknowledge, much less address, the serious impacts it would have on Goleta.

7/13/2008 11:41 AM  
Blogger GoletaGlenn said...

I guess we will just wait for the next plan that will help us meet the State's demand for housing, provide us with city parks and some shopping areas. Oh wait, there isn't another plan like this one.

Perhaps Bennett and Aceves can wave their magic wands and make all the lawsuits and the 20 homes per acre on Hollister all disappear.

7/13/2008 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Goleta Faithful said...

kinolley and goleta glen -- to set the record straight, it was Onnen and Bennett who pledged their early support for Bishop Ranch -- Aceves never committed to anything until he could see the project through the review process. It's funny that he is starting to be mentioned just when the Chamber of Concrete realizes that he isn't their boy.

7/13/2008 11:15 PM  
Blogger valued opinions said...

I was (am) against Bishop ranch because the area is already experiencing extreme traffic congestion, there is not enough water, sewer capacity is questionable, the City of Goleta pays for the infrastructure and the developer reaps the financial rewards.
I attended the Developer's "Visioin" Meetings and found them to be a facade cleverly orchestrated to create the illusion of public support.
A huge thank-you to the people with "Vision" who derailed this ill-suited project.
Bob C.

7/16/2008 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Goleta the Goodland said...

Let me get this straight - Goleta is primarily a single family home community - probably around 75-80 percent of our homes are single-family homes.

And members of our council continue to support dense development in the General Plan - one that calls for 95 percent of new homes to be multi-family homes.

Two years ago, didn't Bennett and Aceves promise us to get out of this mess?

I wish we would have had the hearing so I could give this council a piece of my mind.

We need Bishop Ranch and single family homes - not these huge condo developments with 20 homes to the acre!

7/17/2008 6:43 PM  

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