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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 3rd, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 23, Issue 23

County Planning Commission weighs in on Solvang garage dispute

By Caleb Wiseblood

Solvang resident Jordan Sideris’ plan to build a detached garage on his property caused a stir among some of his neighbors, one of whom filed an appeal to the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission shortly after the project’s approval.

The appellant, Janeen Beller, discussed her concerns during the Planning Commission’s July 27 meeting. Beller’s backyard is adjacent to Sideris’ backyard, where the applicant plans to build a 5,000-square-foot garage with a height of about 28 feet.

“There’s nothing beautiful about a steel industrial building that blocks a view of almost 30 feet into the sky,” Beller said. “The garage is more than double the size of any house in our area. … A garage of that size could fit over two dozen cars.”

Sideris received a land use permit for the proposed garage at the end of March. Beller submitted her appeal to the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission at the beginning of April, with signatures from 18 households.

“Twelve parties have now removed themselves from the appeal after discussing the project further with the applicant,” Santa Barbara County planner Tina Mitchell mentioned, which Sideris himself expanded on.

“I spent a lot of time over the last two months making contact and sharing my plans with households that had signed the appeal to hear their concerns,” Sideris said during the meeting. “Every household I shared my plans with removed their name from the appeal. … There were two households remaining that I could not make contact with, trying via phone and in person.”

Sideris described himself as a car enthusiast and collector and said he plans to use the garage to store his various motor vehicles. Beller said she’s in favor of Sideris cleaning up “the junkyard that his yard has become with multiple broken-down cars,” but not the garage proposal.

“Mr. Sideris’ newly apparent wish to clean up his yard after all of these years is a very welcome and appreciated change,” Beller said. “We only want to make sure that the project proposed for this cleanup doesn’t create a new problem that will be harder to remedy.”

Santa Barbara County Planning Commissioner John Parke said that although he’s generally in favor of approving the project and denying the appeal, he wouldn’t feel comfortable making a decision before visiting the site in person. Parke supervises the 3rd District, where the applicant’s home is located.

“I was not approached by either side for a site visit,” Parke said. “One problem we have here is that we have an applicant and appellants who are very nice people that do not appear to be terribly sophisticated in the field of land use planning, and that’s why we haven’t had requests for site visits.”

Parke motioned for a continuance on the item. His fellow planning commissioners agreed after a 5-0 vote. The appeal will be revisited during the Planning Commission’s Sept. 28 meeting. 

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