Progress on the Gunner Project

Richard Gunner’s “Pharmacy” project won enthusiastic approval from the Montecito Board of Architectural Review on Monday, September 10, just as it had in July at the Montecito Association Board of Directors meeting. Board member Peter Edwards called it, “a very, very nice project.”

Robert Foley, project manager for architect Don Nulty (who recused himself from the MBAR proceedings) presented the plan to the board. He asked for a modification in the 10-foot setback rule on the west side of the property. Reducing the setback to five feet, he proffered, would allow for more usable public space.

Local architect Bob Easton said, “ It’s a terrific plan,” and offered suggestions regarding the position of certain buildings, recommending alternate styles of siding. Both Edwards and Easton suggested using harmonious colors rather than different colors for each of the cottage-like buildings.

Susan Van Atta presented the landscaping plan which calls for keeping all trees on the property and adding maytense trees which have lacy, delicate leaves that will frame but not obscure the architecture. “We want the project to be pedestrian friendly and connected to the total shopping experience of the area,” she said.

Mr. Gunner said, “You have to be sensitive to the organic evolution of an area.” He said he has tried to make his project fit the ambience and historical nature of the property. Currently the parcel contains a jumble of buildings that range in age and style. Some are 1950’s stucco houses, while others are of board and batten from an earlier age.

Brick walkways will front the new buildings and the concrete sidewalk on San Ysidro Road will be replaced with brick. Instead of asphalt, the parking lot and driveways will be of textured pavers or stones.

When he saw the property, says Mr. Gunner, “I just knew that this was the only way to go.” Mr. Gunner then spent several afternoons with Maria Herold of the Montecito Association History Committee learning about the history of the parcel and incorporating it conceptually into his plan.

The project adds a little more than 5,000 square feet of commercial space to the property for a total of 14,257 square feet on the 56,807 square-foot parcel. It is well within the limits of the 25% Floor Area Ratio of the Montecito Community Plan guidelines.

In other actions, MBAR approved the request of William Cooper, architect for 135 La Vuelta, to consent to a new two-car garage of 480 square feet as well as new entry gates and columns. They also heard the request of Sophie Calvin, agent for the owners of 2020 Creekside, to consent to their plan for a new two-story residence of approximately 4,706 square feet, in addition to several outbuildings and trellises for a total of 7,128 feet on 1.38 acres. No action was taken.

Montecito Association Monthly Meeting

During the public comment section of the Montecito Association meeting on Tuesday, September 11, Harry Hovey told Bill Palladini that he was doing “a fantastic job.”

Hovey, a representative of the Wyant Road Neighborhood Association, thanked Palladini by saying, “You have brought back credibility, integrity, and stability to the Montecito Association.”

Former Montecito Association President J’Amy Brown brought up encroachment issues on Santa Rosa Lane. The recent planting of a row of thick hedges outside a fence, she said, has made walking dangerous and parking impossible. The officers present at the meeting said they could not take action because encroaching on easements was not a criminal violation, but perhaps a zoning violation. It was not known if the property owner was obligated to provide this easement.

Bill Palladini announced that the Montecito Board of Architectural Review was developing easement policies for new projects, but that existing land parcels were more complicated.

Dan Eidelson expressed concern over the growing number of events at private residences in Montecito. The zoning ordinance allows non-profits to have three events a year with a 300-person cap on each event. They do not need permits to do so.

Eidelson says in one particular case, there were six events and hundreds more people than allowed. Victoria Greene added that it was a violation of zoning ordinance to exceed the limits.

The meeting continued with a report on meetings with Supervisors Salud Carbajal and Brooks Firestone, as well as representatives from Warner Hotels and Resorts. The Nominating Committee recommended various appointments and Ted Simmons discussed the History Office Archive Project.

The Conference agenda was announced and various committees presented reports on ongoing projects and issues. The next meeting will be Tuesday, October 9, beginning at 4 pm.