SHELBY PROJECT THREATENS GOLETA VALLEY

Submitted by Steve Ferry

Residents of the Goleta Valley are alarmed by the recent, rapid, massive development that has occurred in their community. These huge developments are threatening the quality of life in the Good Land with traffic congestion, crowding, environmental degradation, and the loss of open space and bird habitat. Now, yet another developer wants to re-zone agricultural land, in direct violation of the City of Goleta’s General Plan, and force more houses into a parcel zoned for agriculture. Audubon members interested in preserving the integrity, health, and character of the Valley should express their opposition to the Shelby Project by contacting the Goleta City Council.

The Shelby Project proposes to build 60 family housing units with 7 figure prices on a 14.4-acre parcel between Cathedral Oaks Road and Glen Annie Golf Course, just west of Dos Pueblos High School. This proposed development would require the City of Goleta’s Council to amend Goleta’s General Plan and re-zone the property from agricultural to residential uses. Approval of this project would violate the spirit of Measure G, passed by 72% of Goleta voters in 2012. Measure G forbids the development of large agricultural parcels within Goleta city limits without a vote by its citizens. Because the Shelby Project’s permit process was started (just) before Measure G passed, it is exempt from Measure G. If put to a vote of Goleta’s citizens, the Shelby Project would certainly be defeated, because residents have made it clear that they envision a more open, rural Goleta, as embodied in the General Plan, than the dense suburban sprawl found in cities further south.

Why should SBAS members care about the Shelby Project? Because the project will have many repercussions for the local way of life throughout the Santa Barbara area! The Shelby Project would diminish a scenic corridor and engender urban sprawl north of Cathedral Oaks Road, the widely-recognized urban limit line. If approved, the Shelby Project could set a precedent for further land rezoning and development in the Goleta and Noleta foothills! Potentially foothill bird habitat could be lost forever! The draft Environmental Impact Report for the Shelby Project identified many significant negative impacts that cannot be mitigated, including permanent loss of mountain views, loss of agricultural land, and loss of important ecological resources and habitats, as well as significant increases in traffic, noise, and air pollution. These losses would be permanent and irreversible. SBAS members, however, have made it clear that they do not want the further loss of open space and environmental amenities.

Why are developers building more housing during a devastating multi-year drought, a drought which has prompted the Goleta Water District to declare a Stage III Water Shortage Emergency? The Shelby Project does not have adequate water to meet its needs and should not have even been submitted to the City because it violates the Goleta General Plan and California environmental policy provisions by proposing new housing without adequate water! Approval and construction of the Shelby Project would require changing an agricultural meter to a residential meter and require additional water supplies to meet the needs of new thirsty residences. Besides abrogating state and local policies, the approval of this project would make a charade of the heroic efforts of local residents to reduce their water use during the drought.

The Shelby project is not infill housing, is not affordable, will extend City services, will impact environmentally sensitive habitats, and contributes little to local housing needs. Goleta currently has over 1,000 residential units approved or under construction, with an excess of 45 units over projected state-mandated requirements in the “Above Moderate Income” category for 2015-2023. There is no need to rezone more land for housing in violation of Goleta’s General Plan and there is no need for additional million-dollar homes that do nothing for Goleta’s affordable housing needs!

Santa Barbara Audubon members’ actions can stop the Shelby Project! Even if you live outside of Goleta you can influence decision makers! Email the Goleta City Council about your concerns. A sample letter is below. Customize it to reflect your opinions or copy and paste it into the body of your email. Copy and paste these email addresses into the “To” box of your email: raceves@cityofgoleta.org; mbennett@cityofgoleta.org ; jfarr@cityofgoleta.org ; pperotte@cityofgoleta.org ; tvallejo@cityofgoleta.org.

If you prefer to send a paper copy of a letter, you can create your own, modify the letter below, or print out this pdf version. Be sure to sign the letter and include your address. The address for the Goleta City Council is included in the attached letter.

Also, attend the Planning Commission and City Council hearings on the Shelby Project in the next few months. Let city officials know that you oppose changing Goleta’s general plan to allow continued rampant development!

Steve Ferry

SBAS Conservation Committee

Dolores Pollock

SBAS President


Sample letter to Goleta City Council

Dear Goleta Councilmembers:

I am alarmed by the recent, rapid, massive development that has occurred in the Goleta Valley. These huge developments are threatening the quality of life in the Good Land with traffic congestion, crowding, environmental degradation, and the loss of open space. Now, yet another developer wants to re-zone agricultural land, in direct violation of the City of Goleta’s General Plan, and force more houses into a parcel zoned for agriculture.

The Shelby Project proposes to build 60 family housing units with 7 figure prices on a 14.4-acre parcel between Cathedral Oaks Road and Glen Annie Golf Course, just west of Dos Pueblos High School. This proposed development would require you to amend Goleta’s General Plan and re-zone the property from agricultural to residential uses. Approval of this project would violate the spirit of Measure G, passed by 72% of Goleta voters in 2012. Measure G forbids the development of large agricultural parcels within Goleta city limits without a vote by its citizens. If put to a vote of Goleta’s citizens, the Shelby Project would certainly be defeated, because residents have made it clear that they envision a more open, rural Goleta, as embodied in the General Plan, than the dense suburban sprawl found in cities further south.

The Shelby Project will have many negative repercussions for our local way of life! It would diminish a scenic corridor and engender urban sprawl north of Cathedral Oaks Road, the widely-recognized urban limit line. The draft Environmental Impact Report for the Shelby Project identified many significant negative impacts that cannot be mitigated, including permanent loss of mountain views, loss of agricultural land, and loss of important ecological resources and habitats, as well as significant increases in traffic, noise, and air pollution. These losses would be permanent and irreversible. I agree with Goleta Valley citizens that we do not want further loss of open space and environmental amenities.

Why are developers building more housing during a devastating multi-year drought, a drought which has prompted the Goleta Water District to declare a Stage III Water Shortage Emergency? The Shelby Project does not have adequate water to meet its needs and should not have even been submitted to the City because it violates the Goleta General Plan and California environmental policy provisions by proposing new housing without adequate water! Approval and construction of the Shelby Project would require changing an agricultural meter to a residential meter and require additional water supplies to meet the needs of new thirsty residences. Besides abrogating state and local policies, the approval of this project would make a charade of the heroic efforts of local residents, including myself, to reduce our water use during the drought.

The Shelby project is not infill housing, is not affordable, will extend City services, will impact environmentally sensitive habitats, and contributes little to local housing needs. Goleta currently has over 1,000 residential units approved or under construction, with an excess of 45 units over projected state-mandated requirements in the “Above Moderate Income” category for 2015-2023. There is no need to rezone more land for housing in violation of Goleta’s General Plan and there is no need for additional million-dollar homes that do nothing for Goleta’s affordable housing needs!

Yours truly,

(your name and address)