The citizens of Orcutt are fed up with the actions of Santa Maria as they attempt to annex the Richards Ranch property into the city. It is located next to Highway 135 and Union Valley Parkway. The Parkway already has significant traffic. If approved, traffic will increase by 20,780 trips per day creating more unwanted noise. This area has long been part of the Orcutt community plan with nothing to do with the city.

Also Righetti High School is now at 145 percent of capacity. When students are going to and from school, we now have difficulty pulling out of our neighborhood onto Foster Road. If approved, the added students will make it “exponentially” worse!

Let’s look at the project! It consists of 400 apartments, 95 townhomes, and a retail commercial center. The city of Santa Maria wants to annex this property for two reasons: tax revenue and state housing mandates, both at Orcutt’s expense.

Orcutt now has 34 key sites in the Orcutt Community Plan. Any changes need to be made by the citizens of Orcutt, not Santa Maria. There is no doubt that dwellers in this project will use Orcutt’s resources such as schools, law enforcement, fire and rescue, parks, trails, and roadways. 

How does Santa Maria exercise this authority over Orcutt? Years ago Santa Maria and a supervisor from Santa Maria decided that Orcutt did not need state water. They have continued to control growth with a grip on water even though Orcutt has its own vast supply of underground water. Every time a commercial development comes along, Santa Maria refuses to sell water unless the project is annexed.

Today Orcutt residents have more expendable income than Santa Maria and, in fact, support Santa Maria’s economy such as Costco, Home Depot/Lowe’s, car dealerships, big-box stores, hospitals, etc. Santa Maria reaps the benefits via taxes without providing services to Orcutt.

While Santa Maria tore down its historic downtown and it still struggles to survive, Orcutt did the opposite. Orcutt residents formed the Old Town Orcutt Revitalization Association and transformed Old Town Orcutt into a thriving historical downtown.

Join me in assembling a group to incorporate Orcutt, which was established in 1904. If successful, Orcutt would become the third largest city in Santa Barbara County—larger than Guadalupe, Buellton, Solvang, Carpinteria, Goleta, and Lompoc. Contact Steve LeBard to join our group at (805) 714 1165. 

Ken McCalip

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