Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Locals Only? Haskell's Beach Scope Hearing

The Haskell's Beach condo project that The Bacara had tried to ram through the General Plan last year with 13 amendments is finally beginning to hear input from the public (Noozhawk). A scoping hearing last Thursday brought this interesting comment from Michael Lunsford from the Gaviota Coast Conservancy on The Bacara's request for changes to the General Plan:

“The question is, ‘Would this kind of treatment be given to me or any other homeowner in the city of Goleta?’” he asked. “It’s been my experience that you don’t get past the planning desk until you’re consistent. And yet, in this case, we have a massive change.

“I’m afraid that what you’re doing is setting yourself up for a constitutional issue of equal treatment,” he said. “The rooms that are being anticipated are larger than my remodeled house. I suspect that is consistent with most people who live in Goleta.”

Interesting argument as there has been some question in the past as to the more typical beach public access approach (taken by others in the hearing I am sure). Now that the massive changes The Bacara proposed are public -- at least the plan can take public input. Members of the public who missed the scope hearing may submit written comments to Goleta City Hall until 5:30 p.m. April 16.



Anonymous Location, location, location said...

I have yet to figure out the vacation appeal of this Bacara site due to the stink of the nearby refinery, the roar of overhead planes landing at the airport and the constant fog that chills any outdoor activity.

4/12/2009 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

There are so many issues with this project that the City of Goleta may find it nearly impossible to permit. The proximity to an oil processing plant (and the public safety issues that proximity implies) and the public beach access issues are in and of themselves enough to tube this project. Has the Goleta Water District allocated enough water for such a development? If Bacara had not completely alienated the community with their attempts to steal Haskell's Beach, this development might have gotten, if not a sympathetic, at least a neutral hearing. In the current political and public opinion environment however, this project is doomed.

4/12/2009 10:03 AM  
Blogger Don McDermott said...

Isn't this Lunsford quote commenting on the process and the appearance of preferential treatment rather than the project itself? Beyond that distinction I'm sure there was or will be in the future more comment about "beach public access."

4/13/2009 6:33 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

agreed -- just think it's an interesting angle.

4/13/2009 6:39 AM  
Anonymous AN50 said...

I don’t know if it’s preferential treatment or a desire to just get more housing built, any housing. I have seen this before; government gets in the hot seat over jobs/housing imbalances, work force housing and affordable housing so they start approving everything that comes across their desk as if to say “see we’re dealing with the housing problem”. As one of the rare citizens of this fine community that actually supports growth and development, I support it done right. So far I have found myself on the side of the no-nothing-never crowd more often than not simply because the crap developers want to build is soooooo out of place. This is one of those developments (I actually was against the Bacara for the same reason). We develop zoning laws in order to protect property rights. This prevents a land owner from building an industrial building on the lot between you and your neighbor, or having your neighbor build a 10 story high rise in your single family dwelling unit neighborhood, or as in this case a high density housing project out at the fringe of the urban limit line. So much of the animosity toward growth and development is a result of growth and development being done wrong or crappy and so much of it done that way that now any growth or development is considered bad. If the city goes through with this or the Citrus Village project they will be shooting themselves in the foot again (the first time was allowing residential development in industrial parks along Hollister). It is a losing battle for me when the industry I support is encouraged by government to do the wrong thing again and again.

4/13/2009 6:28 PM  
Anonymous As Built said...

No one is in the hot seat about providing affordable housing from those who already live here. Think about it.

Only alien special interests demand affordable housing. Time to stop listening to these special interests and get back to taking care of those who already live here.

No one already living here is not asking for more affordable housing at all. Just the opposite. Let's bust this whole affordable housing demand right now. We don't want it. Scram.

4/13/2009 9:45 PM  
Blogger Don McDermott said...

AN50: Usually you write with so much authority and certainty. Now you reveal a more introspect or conflicted opinion. Perhaps you don't know everything.

Any property owner has the right to submit a project for review. If a project can pass environmental review, legal scrutiny and muster political support then the project is approved. Often that is a big bruising battle. Maybe "the process" could be improved for everyone if projects are approved "over-the-counter" or projects that have no exceptions to the rule. That of course would mean that we fire the planning commissions except to update the general plan/zoning/transportation type documents. Perhaps we would have less community discord because everyone would know what to expect.

4/14/2009 7:25 AM  
Blogger christine said...

Why is it that a comapny that is suing the builders of its first project for faulty workmanship....being allowed to build more buildings?

Just askin'....

4/14/2009 10:42 PM  
Anonymous AN50 said...

Sorry Don, but no conflict here. You make the same mistake most in this town make, if you are not against all development then you must be for all development. I was protesting bad development at the age of 11. I turned my anger over the rape of the landscape by mindless growth into a passion for doing urban growth right. The difference between me and my detractors is I understand how its done, why its done and how to do it better, rather than taking the lazy ignorant way and just saying no all the time. Because of that I can and still do reject bad development when ever and where ever it may occur. There are several projects on the south coast I have rejected for various reasons, density to high or to low, wrong use for the location, lack of proper mitigation of affects and so on. Your idea of “over the counter” approval has some merit but only if zoning is done right to begin with and we don’t have government making exceptions for the wrong reasons.
The Bacara was a mistake from the start. This latest project on the property is just adding insult to injury and fodder for my no growth opponents. And yes I do know everything, but other than that you made some good points here. You will find as Eckermann has that I actually am a reasonably fellow, when not provoked with tire old south coast clichés. I just don’t believe growth and development is bad, just done badly. The architectural and building industry has designed and built cities we live in. We all have opinions about the how and the why but seldom does anyone put the shoe on the other foot. Really Don, I have never seen a community so enamored with shooting off its own feet and throwing its babies out with the bath water. Unfortunately the one entity that needs the most help getting it right is government and they are the ones calling the shots while we throw stones at the entity that put a roof over our head.

4/15/2009 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Don and AN50 are really not that far apart. It is interesting that we spend so much time and treasure establishing zoning standards only to overrule them time and time again for one ad hoc reason or another. Either we should have zoning standards or we should embrace ad hocracy, and deal with each project on a one by one basis. Pretending that we have standards only to create exemptions from them is just silly. Bacara is a weird scar on the landscape and now they want to improve the scar with more mutilation. I am not saying that the little bit of open space between the oil plant and the scar have to remain undeveloped, but do we have have the time-share condo paradigm? How about some faux shacks for vacation rental bordering a broad public access path sort of like Crystal Cove and a surf board rental place and burger shack close to the beach, a little throwback to the 1950s California beach culture, maybe a couple of kitschy tiki gods and some bon fire rings to soothe the local savages?

4/15/2009 9:03 PM  
Anonymous I want it all said...

I want to make sure my Bacara timeshare is when it is socked in with fog and the wind blows all the refinery stench on to my balcony. What would be the best time to buy my share to get all of these features?

4/16/2009 7:39 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

This goes hand in hand with the recent proposal to pave over one really nice piece of property on Hollister. I'm not sure what is behind this obsession with cramming as many people as possible into The Good Land. Who is driving this? Land owners looking to cash in before UCSB does it's damage and screws us first?

In this particular case, the developer is (drumroll please)

Westar Associates, headquartered in Costa Mesa, California, is engaged in the acquisition, development and management of neighborhood, community, and freeway shopping centers. Westar has developed and acquired 37 centers totaling more than 4.7 million square feet, valued in excess of $750 million.

Just another F'd up OC developer who wants to cookie cutter in a bland uninspired neighborhood wrecking piece of crap.

You know Lineham and Co. would love to see a tousand new buyers right across from his mall. But what about the other 5-10K folks who will be negatively impacted?

4/19/2009 1:25 PM  
Anonymous AN50 said...

Sat1 are you kidding? As much as I hate the fact that Goleta wants all its high density residential growth next to the RR tracks or in industrial parks (who’s gonna complain, factory workers?) I cannot for the life of me get what you mean by paving over another really nice property. RR tracks on the north (and fwy behind that), condos and electrical substation to the east, major regional shopping center to the south and small industrial park to the west, yep sounds like freaking paradise to me! I don’t mind bashing the plan to house people in industrial areas to get out from underneath state housing mandates. I don’t mind bashing time shares built on a destination resort site that should never have been built, but I will not support this idiotic mischaracterization of properties and or developers by people who can’t (means won’t) think of anything but the same tired old clichéd crap that has been spewed here for 40 years. We are never going to move beyond polarized fighting among ourselves unless we drop the old worn out clichés and start talking straight. Who gives a rat’s ass if Westar is from freaking Orange County? What the hell does that matter? Would this project be any better or worse if the developer was from San Francisco? What matters, is the property is being developed badly, ok, what I really mean is wrongly. What should be developed on the property as a best use for the landowner and for Goleta at large? That is the question and right now city government believes the answer is more rental homes and service industry. I say hogwash. Some services are ok but the bulk should be for economy growing industry, like manufacturing of some sort. That fits the surrounding uses a hell of a lot better than future slums. There are plenty of squalid, dilapidated areas of SB and Goleta that could be renovated for higher density residential development and would go a long way in removing the notion that “smart growth” as practiced here is really stupid.

4/20/2009 8:00 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"Who gives a rat’s ass if Westar is from freaking Orange County?"

I do! I'm making a list of the many Rat's asses I'd be happy to give.

The fundamental problem is they don't live here which means (to me) that they most likely do not understand or are accountable to the local culture. Do you think somebody from the COG contacted them and told them what we really need here? or did they decide to jump on the high density housing bandwagon that would max out the revenue?

I'm very afraid that the plan is to max out Hollister the same way they did to El Colegio. Have you even gone down these streets in the past cople of years?

I've been in this same spot for 25 years now. This is my home! I've sacrificed carrer opportunity to stay because it is a unique area of Cali that is now very much threatened by over developement.

Why do you think the COG charter is so stringent? I'm not alone in this and there are a small group of people who want to game the system, rape the viewshed, pollute the air, ruin the night sky, disturb the peace, lower property value, turn The Good Land Open Space into SB's dumping ground for cheap labor and generally turn Goleta into Freakin' Orange F'in County. Your basic Facade of a liveable, "walkable" community that will look like crap in ten years. UCSB is already running down this path. Why would we need more?

Got it?

Now I totally agree with you about bringing in manufacturing complexes offering jobs to skilled labor. Sacto definitely needs to get it's stuff together and fix whatever drove so much of that business out of Cali in the 80's.

You think Jordan/Nava, Farr, Capps, Williams, COG council, Kristen et al are up to the task? I don't. I think they've got their priorities all wrong.

4/21/2009 4:52 PM  

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