Santa Barbara Planning Commission pleased with proposed police station | Local News
Former Santa Barbara Mayor Sheila Lodge was first elected to the municipal Council in 1975.
“At that time, the current police station was 17 years old and already woefully inadequate,” Lodge said. “There’s so much wrong with it. It holds so many more people than it was designed to hold.”
Lodge made his comments at Thursday’s conference Urban planning committee meeting on the proposed new police station for the corner of Santa Barbara and Cota streets.
The planning commissioner said she is delighted that the city has reached this stage of the process.
“We’re finally on track to get a building that will hold all of the police departments,” Lodge said. “Hopefully, I guess it’s been designed to accommodate any necessary increases in staff and services.”
City staff at Thursday’s hearing presented their environmental findings on the construction of the new police station and determined that all environmental impacts are “less than significant or can be mitigated to less than significant levels. “.
Comments on the Draft Mitigated Negative Statement can be emailed to Project Planner Kathleen Kennedy at [email protected].
The project still has to go through several stages for approval, including the city council, returning to the planning commission for approval of a development plan, then to the Architectural Review Board for the design review.
Despite the Santa Barbara Planning Commission’s support for the proposed police station, Commissioner Ian Baucke mentioned that he thought the tower’s “blank facade” “lacks articulation”. (Courtesy rendering)
Once approved, construction is expected to take 28 months, including three months for the earthworks phase and 25 months for the construction phase.
The current police station at 215 E. Figueroa St. is in need of a seismic upgrade, has soil contamination in the parking lot, and multiple plumbing and electrical infrastructure defects. The city has struggled for more than two decades to find a way to build a new police station. A mandatory measure to this end was voted down by voters in 1999.
The department also works out of the police station annex at 222 E. Anapamu St.; the dispatch center at 1200 Anacapa Street; and Animal Control at 415 E. Sola St. All operations would be consolidated at the new project site.
The project has seen many starts and stops since then, but the passing of Measure C, a 1% sales tax increase, has also created a revenue stream to help build the facility. The $80 million headquarters project calls for a four-story main building, with three levels above ground and one below. The tallest part of the main building would reach 53 feet. The highest part of a parking structure would reach 37.5 feet. The car park would have 236 spaces – 128 for the fleet and 108 for employees. There would be eight parking spaces for visitors.
In addition, emergency service antennas would be installed on the roof of the parking structure. About 35 trees inside the property would be removed, but the city would replace them and add more.
The site currently houses a monthly parking permit program for downtown employees. It offers 221 parking spaces for permit holders and municipal employees. The project would remove these spaces from the downtown parking program.
“The relocation of these permit holders would be a priority, and adequate notice would be provided to permit holders prior to construction at the project site,” according to the city’s environmental review. “There are several car parks nearby with available capacity.”
The project site is also part of the Safe Parking Program, which provides safe overnight parking for individuals and families living in their vehicles.
Moreover, the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market holds its Saturday market on the site. The organization proposed moving the market to the public right-of-way along Carrillo Street between Chapala and Anacapa streets, and along State Street between Canon Perdido and Figueroa streets. The application is being reviewed by the city, according to the draft environmental report.
To review the 80-page draft attenuated negative statement, Click here.
All the commissioners supported the commissioning project and did not contest the draft report.
Commissioner John Baucke, however, suggested that when the Architectural Board of Review reviews the project again, it should pay particular attention to the tower.
“I have yet to see in Santa Barbara or even on a Google search a tower like the one shown in this project that has such a pristine facade,” Baucke said. “It lacks articulation. A large, blank facade like that doesn’t seem to be up to Santa Barbara standards.”