The Goleta City Council unanimously voted Monday night against extending a coastal moratorium on development, which is scheduled to end on Friday, and left the land in the hands of the California Coastal Commission.
The coastal moratorium went into effect March 22, when the CCC decided Goleta must adopt its own Local Coastal Program – a general zoning plan that applies solely to the coastal zone – instead of using the Santa Barbara County plan.
The council said the moratorium extension would have given almost a year – until March 2003 – to decide whether they will create their own LCP, or use a LCP similar to Santa Barbara County’s.
On Monday night, the council decided to leave the coastal land – which stretches from the Ellwood Shores to the Bacara Resort on Hollister Avenue and varies in distance from about 1,000 feet from the coastline to a few miles inland – under the jurisdiction of the CCC.
The council made the decision not to extend the coastal moratorium because city officials assured them that they would figure out a way to create a land-use permit system with the CCC within a couple of weeks.
Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell said if the city officials could establish a permit system, then a two-week delay of development would be ridiculous.
“I don’t feel like the moratorium is necessary because it’s sending the wrong message to delay [development] another 10 months and 15 days even if we are going to lift it within a couple of weeks,” she said.
As a result of the decision, the CCC will now oversee all projects and will give Goleta land-use permits that will take environmental issues into consideration.
Goleta Interim City Attorney Julie Biggs said the next big hurdle for the city is to figure out the CCC’s policy in issuing development permits.
“We have some idea as to what they mean and we’re not clear on it at this point. It’s my intention that we will meet with the coastal commission [so we can tell] everyone as to how this should proceed,” she said
Goleta Planning Liaison Doreen Farr said Goleta’s goal is to get the permit-approval procedures in place so the city can move forward and deal with project proposals that come their way. She said it seems like the permit process will be complicated.
“I don’t want to send anybody off in the wrong direction. It seems to be one of these situations that the more information you get the murkier it gets instead of the clearer it gets,” she said.
The Goleta City Council meets again on Monday, May 13, at 6 p.m. in the Goleta Union School District Boardroom at 401 Fairview Ave. in Goleta.