After four years of work, the Goleta City Council recently released a Public Hearing draft of its General Plan/Coastal Land Use, giving community members a chance to check it out before an upcoming series of public hearings on the document.
The public hearings for the plan, conducted by the City Council and the Goleta Planning Agency, will begin April 19 and will continue through June. The document is required by California state law, which stipulates that incorporated cities such as Goleta must have a community-supported plan to guide decisions about land use, housing, conservation, open space, transportation, safety and noise regulations. Community members can view the document by visiting www.cityofgoleta.org, Goleta City Hall or the Goleta Public Library.
City council member and former Goleta mayor Jean Blois said the majority of the plan, which was presented at the March 20 council meeting, is complete and she thinks the council is pleased with how the document turned out.
“It’s a four-inch thick, 450 page book,” Blois said. “The council had a happy hour for the staff last week to celebrate it’s completion.”
According to the Public Hearing draft of the document, the General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan focuses on “[creating] a peaceful small-town atmosphere, that promotes a healthy business climate compatible with community values, that seeks sustainability by not sacrificing tomorrow’s resources for today’s needs.”
While UCSB is not technically within Goleta’s boundaries, council member Margaret Connell said there are a number of people from the university who are invested in Goleta’s future.
“The university properties are not within the city boundaries, but obviously a lot of university people live in our city and shop in our city,” Connell said. “We have a close relationship with the university.”
Blois said several UCSB students expressed their interest in transportation, housing and environmental issues during meetings regarding the document. Because the plan does not encourage new housing, in particular, it could become difficult for students to rent in Goleta if university enrollment continues to increase.
Connell said she thinks Goleta residents are mainly interested in environmental issues, especially the protection of parks and beaches. Decisions about housing development have also incited public input.
“Low-income, high density housing is very controversial,” Connell said.
Overall, Blois said she thinks the plan succeeds in balancing the interests of Goleta’s citizens and people looking to rent homes in Goleta with the need to maintain the area’s environmental resources.
“The important thing is that we are trying to maintain the quality of life here in Goleta with open space and so forth,” Blois said.
Blois said the city council plans to officially adopt the General Plan in September when it will be filed with the State of California and put into effect.