Archive » April 17, 2008
By India Allen, Staff Writer
Coastal Commission visits Santa Barbara to review projects
Though the California Coastal Commission went through a drove of agenda items during its three-day meeting April 9 through April 11, only a few concerned Santa Barbara County.
The items included a change to Santa Barbara City College’s new School of Media Arts building; review of an application from the Santa Barbara Waterfront Department to add 12 new boat slips and shore-side upgrades for electrical service to boat slips; replacement of Cabrillo Bridge over Mission creek; the restoration of Mission Creek; and issuance of cease and desist orders to the Bacara Resort and Spa for permit violations.
Santa Barbara City College SOMA building
The Coastal Commission approved a few changes to the proposed SOMA building. City College’s new SOMA building has been in the works since 1997, when it was approved by the state. But as the process continues to make headway, City College revamped the building’s design plan to become more cost effective. The new building will accommodate media arts classes and programs, including the college’s Journalism Department, Graphic Arts and Programming and Gaming programs. It is projected to cost $46 million, of which $31 million will come from the state; $10 million from a bond that will be on the November Ballot. Another $5 million will come from the City College Foundation.
The commission approved a number of changes to the SOMA building at its April 9 meeting. The original proposal called for a five-story building, three levels above ground and two at sub-surface levels. It also initially called for the removal of three oak trees.
The commission approved proposed amendments to reduce the structure’s levels to two above-ground and one small sub-floor basement level. In addition, the new building plan will not remove any of the oak trees.
“Our original cost estimate came in over $50 million and we knew we couldn’t afford that,” said City College’s vice president of business services, Joe Sullivan.
“We had to go back to architects and get them to create a new plan…We think the design is very nice…We didn’t loose any lab or classroom space.”
Santa Barbara Waterfront and Cabrillo Bridge
The Coastal Commission approved the Santa Barbara Waterfront to remove and replace the main headwalk and docks for 520 boat slips at the waterfront. The project will be implemented in 10 phases, with each phase predicted to take up to 90 days. The commission approved the project on eight conditions, which included protection of boat slips to serve visitors, water quality protection, debris removal and protection of the Snowy Plover.
The commission also approved the replacement of the Cabrillo Bridge in Santa Barbara.
The Bacara Resort
The Bacara Resort and Spa is taking heat from the Coastal Commission for violating one of its permits. The Coastal Commission postponed two cease and desist orders that it was planning to issue to the Bacara Reosrt and Spa for violating an easement agreement.
The easement agreement involves a path that leads to the beach and is located on the southern end of the resort.
“Because we have been working with them and they have been making significant strides in fixing the violations, in the process of completely complying with compliance orders. Lisa Haage, chief of Enforcement for the Coastal Commission, said the cease and desist orders were postponed because Bacara began complying with the order to allow open access to the path, which had been issued in 2006.
“Several years ago we started writing them letters, and right when we were getting ready to go to hearing they decided to comply with everything,” Hagge said.
Hagge said the Bacara had restricted access to the path because it intended to develop the area.
“The path is very heavily used and allows public access to the beach,” Hagge said. “If we saw that this wasn’t going to be resolved we would have kept it on the agenda. Bacara is very close to resolving the issue.”
Though the Coastal Commission has called off issuing the resort and spa cease and desist orders, Hagge said if things change, the Coastal Commission will be ready to take action.
“If the wheels come off this, we’ll go to hearing in May,” she said. “But I’m hoping that that’s not necessary.”
A Bacara spokesperson was not available for comment.