Keep the Village in Coast Village Road

On March 20, 2008, the Santa Barbara City Planning Commission voted to approve, with one change, the redevelopment project at the Union 76 gas station at the corner of Coast Village and Olive Mill Road. The project must go back to the Architectural Review Board for approval after the developer makes the change (to put the eastern emergency stairway on the inside of the building).

Area residents, including Save Coast Village Road and its supporters, were disappointed that our many legal and environmental arguments fell on the deaf ears of the Planning Commission (almost half of whose members had to recuse themselves because of relationships with the developer).

Critics oppose the project in its proposed form because of the precedent-setting and inappropriate size-height-bulk (which we believe is completely out of character for the neighborhood), blocking of the best mountain view on Coast Village Road, expected increase in traffic and pressure on street parking, incursion into the neighbors’ privacy and solar access, increased water usage (by as much as 500%!), noise, neighboring properties’ devaluation, etc. Even faced with the many environmental issues, no Environmental Impact Review was required by the city planners . We have filed an appeal to stop the proposed project, which will be heard by the City Council on July 15th.

In campaigning against the project, we have found that virtually everyone we contact agrees with us. We receive donations, pledges of support and/or signatures on our petitions especially from people who live in the Montecito area and are concerned about the future of our community. We also have the backing of various homeowners associations and the Santa Barbara Citizens Planning Association.

Supporters of the development have three things in common: 1) they all seem to reside on the other side of Santa Barbara; 2) they speak more in support of the developer than the project; and 3) they say that a landowner should be able to do what is allowed by law. We agree that landowners should be able to do almost anything allowed by law (subject to consideration of neighbors’ input and architectural-aesthetic review). But this project violates current height and setback regulations – basic elements of local development law – and actually requires a change from residential to commercial zoning, which should never be granted merely to facilitate an owner’s personal financial benefit. The developer asks that these laws be changed so that the building’s size can be maximized and its proximity to the neighbor’s residence minimized.

We strongly believe that construction of such an imposing three-story building, with 5,000 square feet of commercial space and eight condos, is inappropriate for this small gateway corner of Montecito-Santa Barbara. And we fear that if it is approved and built it will set a precedent for future over-development all along Coast Village Road. We hope residents who agree with us will go to the hearing at City Hall on July 15th.

Jeff Farrell


A Letter to the Supes

My husband, Joe Peus and I, want to add our names to the list of people who support the Caruso Miramar project without reservation. We are longtime homeowners in Montecito, and have belonged to the Miramar Beach and Tennis Club since its inception. It will be a wonderful addition to our community. Everything Rick Caruso does is first class, and it is about time the Planning Commission realizes the extent to which Mr. Caruso has gone to reach out to the public, and at great expense has fine-tuned the plan to meet with almost everyone’s concerns. It would be a shame to let a handful of people postpone or even stop this project and leave us with the rat-infested eyesore that is presently standing on such beautiful beach property.


Karen Peus (Publisher's Note: For a while, I was under the impression that wacky building restrictions were synonymous to Montecito but after reading an article in Forbes where a developer back East had to provide classical music for a horse stable next to the construction site to ease the horses’ nervousness during construction, I guess many upscale communities deal with the same kinds of things. ~ TLB)

Keep Montecito Beautiful - Make a Trail

Hats off to all those involved with creating the new encroachment rules for Montecito. Walkability is an important criteria in rating the quality of life in a community. Thank you to all homeowners who have already cleared back hedges and vegetation and made lovely walking space along the road.

Safe Routes to School committee - Cold Spring School

Dr. Bryan McCabe -Superintendent/Principal CSS

Don Miller, Tracey Singh, Lisa Soldo, Lori Walker

A Lawsuit Waiting to Happen

I have literally hundreds of photos of the horrible and dangerous encroachments in and around Montecito. I believe what property owners should also realize is the liability they are creating not only for the county but also for themselves. Any smart personal injury attorney could argue that the property owner contributed to his client’s accident if the encroachments contributed to his demise: safe shoulder area being blocked by illegal encroachments. As in the enclosed photo this bicyclist could not safely exit the narrow roadway to escape a possible oncoming vehicle because of the rock chards that were placed there, probably without an encroachment permit. Hopefully we can get property owners to just help clear and clean up their encroachments on their own to make our streets safer for everyone.

Don Miller


Cold Spring School

(Publisher's Note: My only fear is that you just gave an injury attorney his golden ticket to a litigious nightmare for some homeowner. We hope that out of respect to the community, people continue to abide by the encroachment rules and leave a safe zone near the road for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and broken down vehicles. ~ TLB)