Saturday, February 27, 2021     Volume: 21, Issue: 52

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 4th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 36

Los Alamos subdivision proposal leads to concerns about Shaw Street traffic

By Kasey Bubnash

A proposed subdivision on an empty lot in Los Alamos is leading to concerns among some locals about the potential for traffic congestion on a narrow, private road. 

The Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department is currently reviewing an application for a tentative parcel map that would split a 1.53-acre lot at 774 Main St. in Los Alamos into four separate and smaller parcels. While no structural development is currently proposed for the project, Los Alamos community members worry that several houses will eventually be built on each of the parcels, and that currently proposed entrances and exits to the parcels could lead to future traffic congestion issues. 

Some Los Alamos community members are concerned that a proposed subdivision at 774 Main Street could lead to traffic issues on Shaw Street, a private and narrow road.

Seth Steiner is a Los Alamos resident and the vice president of the Shaw Street Maintenance Association, an organization of homeowners who help fund and preserve a section of Shaw Street that’s privately owned and, thus, not maintained by the county. Shaw Street is a narrow road that roughly 18 homeowners, including Steiner, use to access their homes, he said. It’s currently a quiet road with a low volume of traffic, he said, making it popular among walkers, bikers, and other pedestrians.

But as outlined in the project’s tentative parcel map, three of the four proposed parcels would be accessed from Shaw Street via a 24-foot shared driveway. If homes are built on those parcels—Steiner said he’s heard that as many as 11 could be built in total—that could significantly impact Shaw Street traffic. 

“Access from Shaw Street would disturb, and possibly end, the peaceful enjoyment of the eastern end of this quiet and private section of road by pedestrians, children on bicycles, residents from other parts of town who walk their dogs here and come with young children and with infants in strollers,” Steiner wrote in a letter to the Sun. “If the development were to proceed without a change of the access road, this charming portion of Los Alamos would suffer immeasurably. And, notably, all pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic would be faced with negotiating a 100-foot-long one-lane bottleneck with the likelihood of an increased chance of accidents.”

Although a portion of Shaw Street between the east and west property lines of the first proposed parcel would be widened to 24 feet as part of the project, Steiner said that isn’t enough, considering not only the potential tenants but all the maintenance and emergency vehicles that would need access to the parcels. 

There are other roads—Main Street and Foxen Lane—that Steiner said could be used to access the proposed lots. 

“So this is why many people would like to see one of the other alternatives considered seriously,” he told the Sun in a phone interview. 

A public hearing regarding this project will be scheduled as soon as Planning and Development officials finish the review, according to Supervision Planner Holly Owen. Owen reiterated that the current proposal does not include development. 

“With this application, [the applicant] is not allowed to build on these smaller properties until his parcel map is approved,” Owen wrote in an email to the Sun. “When he is ready to build houses, he will have to apply for a separate approval.”

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