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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 6th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 36

Residents appeal new Orcutt shopping center

By Zac Ezzone

A group of residents appealed the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission’s decision to approve a nearly 50,000-square-foot shopping center on Clark Avenue near Highway 101 in Orcutt.


APPEALING DEVELOPMENT
A group of residents has appealed the county’s approval of a shopping center on Clark Avenue near Highway 101.
SCREENSHOT COURTESY OF SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

The county Planning Commission approved a permit for the Orcutt Gateway Retail Commercial Center project during its Aug. 14 meeting. About one week later, a group of residents appealed the project, raising concerns about how the development will affect traffic, air quality, and safety in the area. During its Nov. 5 meeting, the county Board of Supervisors moved to hold a hearing to discuss the appeal on Nov. 19. 

According to a county staff report from the Nov. 5 meeting, the development proposal includes a grocery store, gas station, drive-though restaurant, and other commercial retail space. 

A group called the Residents for Orcutt Sensible Growth filed the appeal and claims the project will increase overall congestion on Clark Avenue during peak commute times. The group is concerned about the cumulative effects this project and another development the county is reviewing will have on traffic patterns in the area.

“The fact that [both sites] are in such different stages of entitlements approval is extremely concerning to the Residents for Orcutt Sensible Growth. The permitting process has been rushed and disjointed,” the appeal states.

The other project is the proposed Orcutt Marketplace, which is also located on Clark Avenue just north of the Orcutt Gateway project. This potential development would include roughly 250,000 square feet of commercial space and a mixed-use residential development with 252 apartments. County planners are currently reviewing these plans.

In the Nov. 5 staff report, county planners responded to each of the issues the group raised in its appeal. Staff stated that an analysis was completed to measure how the build-out of all proposed developments on Clark Avenue would affect traffic in the area. According to this analysis, the current roadway improvements included in each proposed project would ensure traffic generated by these new developments wouldn’t be an issue.

“The results of this study indicate that roadways are forecasted to carry volumes within their acceptable capacity ratings … and would therefore not generate significant cumulative impacts to study-area roadway segments,” the staff report states.

In its appeal, the group also raised concerns about how the construction of the developments will affect older residents living in the Sunny Hills Mobile Home Park near the site. 

“The dust, soot, exhaust, fumes, and other particulate matter that will necessarily increase due to large construction vehicles … will create negative health impacts on the residents of Sunny Hills Mobile Home Park and other area residents, who are sensitive receptors,” the appeal states.

In addition to response to each issue the group raised, the staff report states that the Planning Commission found the project to be compliant with county zoning requirements and policies and standards in the Orcutt Community Plan.  




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