The preservation of Ellwood Mesa will be the focus of a public hearing held by the Goleta City Council and Planning Agency tonight.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Goleta Union School District boardroom at 401 N. Fairview Ave. The purpose of the hearing is to receive public input on the draft environmental impact report (EIR) of the proposed land exchange between the city of Goleta, private developer Comstock Homes and UCSB.

“This is an opportunity for people to identify environmental impacts not included in the EIR,” Diane Conn, Isla Vista Recreation and Park District board member, said. “Then when the final EIR comes out it adequately looks at all possible impacts.”

Under the exchange, Comstock Homes will transfer its 137-acre lot on Ellwood Mesa, adjacent to UCSB’s West Campus, to the city of Goleta to be designated as open space. In exchange, Comstock will receive a 36-acre lot in Santa Barbara Shores Park for residential development and $20.4 million, of which the city has already raised $13.3 million.

“Everyone’s very invested in the swap,” Conn said. “Raising the money for this land swap has been a huge endeavor. This is a really big commitment for this particular area.”

The plan also includes the relocation of UCSB’s planned faculty and family housing away from the environmentally sensitive coast and the rezoning of a portion of Ocean Meadows Golf Course from residential to recreational to limit future development.

Copies of the plan and the draft EIR are available at the Goleta Planning and Environmental Services Dept. at 130 Cremona Dr., Suite B and online at