New Development Proposals Threaten Remaining Bluffs Open Space

Bluffs I site plan

For all of us Bluffs lovers and supporters, it was time for us to rally once more regarding a recent development proposal for the Carpinteria Bluffs that came before a joint meeting of the Carpinteria City Council and Planning Commission with conceptual plans for the “Tee Time” and row crop portion of the Bluffs I property (the current open space between City Hall and the Nature Preserve). This proposed development included a standard hotel project with the usual hotel amenities along with a restaurant, live/work units, apartments, single family residences, town homes, and parking. There was minimal open space.

Despite the developer’s attempt to soften the hotel’s adverse impact with the promise of including a small organic farm, you can see from the site plan that this project was as dense as any of the past development proposed back in the eighties and nineties. If approved, this project would severely impact the quality of our Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve.

As reported in the Carpinteria Coastal View, Santa Barbara Independent, and other local media, several hundred Carpinterians turned out for the hearing at the City Council Chambers on September 21, 2015 and expressed their comments and thoughts about their vision for this property. Countless members of the public at the hearing expressed their opposition to the scale and nature of this project, citing these plans as greatly out of scale and alignment with the policies set forth in the City’s General Plan and Local Coastal Plan. At the close of public comment, the Planning Commission and City Council echoed these sentiments.

The Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs’ primary mission remains “to preserve forever the Carpinteria Bluffs as open space.” In that regards, I want to assure everyone that public acquisition of the remaining open space of the “Bluffs I” property remains the highest priority for Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs. If, somehow, we are unable eventually to purchase this Bluffs property for active and passive recreational open space for the community, we will do everything we can to ensure that whatever the City approves for that site will have the least impacts upon the Nature Preserve, the Harbor Seal Rookery, and the adjacent residential neighborhoods. In the meantime, the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve and Viola Playing Fields will remain special places for all to use.

Carpe diem,

Ted Rhodes
President, Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs

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