The Goleta City Council met with Target representatives last month to discuss the design proposal for a two-story, 163,800 square foot storefront on the corner of Hollister Avenue and Los Carneros Way.
The Goleta City Council approved the public planning process for the local branch of the national chain on Nov. 15. The parties met again on Jan. 24 to discuss Target’s development proposal, which would replace a FedEx processing plant, the Goleta Valley Athletic Club, Enviroscape Landscaping and an underground parking structure.
Goleta City Manager Daniel Singer said the store’s plans are in their early stages and the approval process requires multiple review meetings that could take years.
“It is a pretty extensive process; it is not that easy,” Singer said. “We are still maybe as much as three years off, assuming that everything goes well and they get approved. The decision makers still have the right to say ‘no.’”
According to fourth-year anthropology major Megan Ricciardi, the store’s wide variety of merchandise and close proximity would attract a vast majority of UCSB’s student body.
“Everyone has said it once in their time at Santa Barbara: ‘I wish there was a Target!’” Ricciardi said. “It is really unfortunate that this project is so far off and I personally will not receive the benefits of having one in the area, but I am glad they are finally putting one in; it is about time.”
Fourth-year anthropology major Sam Coughran said Target would provide a more affordable alternative to the retail stores and shops downtown.
“As a college student, I do not have the money to do my everyday shopping in the boutiques of Santa Barbara,” Coughran said. “If Target would have been here from the start, I would have saved so much money throughout college.”
However, Goleta resident Charles Saenger said a local Target could detract from the community’s natural habitat and ambience.
“Last week on Los Carneros I spotted two White-tailed Kites flying over the open space, and was overjoyed with the moment,” Saenger said. “Target is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of my belief system. We don’t need it, or the ambient light that comes with the huge parking lots [or] a new traffic nightmare that will one day be looked upon as part of the bigger picture of poor planning.”
According to Singer, last month’s meeting aimed to help city designers find a way to integrate the building into the city’s aesthetic in an effort to strike a compromise between supporters and opponents.
“The purpose of the meeting was to give a menu of different architectural styles and get feedback from the board before they submit their application so that the application reflects something that the Design Review Board would be okay with,” Singer said.
Despite concerns over the building proposal, Singer said the plan takes into consideration various possible effects of the potential addition.
“Probably the number one thing that we hear about, from residents and non-residents, students and even other business owners, is that we need a Target,” Singer said. “If that is something that we can deliver in a site that works and doesn’t cause too [many] traffic problems and can fit on the property, that would be great.”