URGENT - SM Councilwoman Terri Zuniga asks for your help tonight at City Council Meeting

We are forwarding an urgent message from Santa Maria City Councilwoman Terri Zuniga about the Betteravia Development going before the City Council tonight. Please attend or send an email. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 110 E. Cook St., Santa Maria. 

EMAIL MESSAGE FROM COUNCILWOMAN TERRI ZUNIGA: 

Tonight the city council will be making important decisions regarding trees and the streetscape in the new Betteravia Development.  The car dealers in particular are pushing hard AGAINST the vision and are asking for limited trees and streetscape.  This completely flies in the direction the council gave staff for new developments!!!  If you care what your community looks like in the future please come out and voice your opinion. Let the city council know what YOUR VISION for YOUR COMMUNITY is!!!!!  Or email the council TODAY, ask that your correspondence be READ into the record!!!!  Post on social media and ask your friends to come to the meeting to speak on the item, send emails and post.  Let your voices be heard! 

(Read Terri's talking points below.)

MESSAGE FROM SBCAN:

We agree with everything Terri says. We would add:

A multipurpose trail should be added to the bluff area behind the stores to provide an area where residents could walk or bike while enjoying the views of the mountains. The development with its tall buildings will screen much of the view. The trail could provide access to some of that view. Better yet, also include some restaurants with outdoor seating along the bluff. It'd be good for the businesses and provide another way to enjoy the views of the mountains.

Make the advertising tower accessible to tourists and residents. The tower to be constructed for advertising could be made to allow people to go up in it to get views of the mountains and the valley. We need assets that help us see the beauty around us. Make that tower accessible.

Trees are needed to help provide shade and counteract the heat generated by development.Research shows cities are warmer than the area that surrounds them because of the development. Trees help counteract that. They are part of the urban environment the city seeks to maintain and enhance. 

We also wonder why this development is needed at all. Several of the businesses slated to go there already are located in the city. What will happen to the properties they abandon? Lowe’s is cited as a possible new business. What will happen to Home Depot and OSH? We used to have a Home Base. Perhaps our city cannot support that many home improvement stores. Costco proposes 24 gas pumps. What will happen to the other stations around town? Perhaps the developer should have to show why this development is needed and how it will benefit the city (if it will).

We hope you will join us at the council meeting tonight, or if not, send an email and request it be “read into the record.”

Send the emails to:
jboysen@cityofsantamaria.org

borach@cityofsantamaria.org

ewaterfield@cityofsantamaria.org

apatino@cityofsantamaria.org

terrizuniga@gmail.com

cityclerk@cityofsantamaria.org

The council agenda can be found here:

http://archive.cityofsantamaria.org/CouncilAgendas/2016/Mar_01/2016-03-01.htm

The staff report can be found here: http://archive.cityofsantamaria.org/CouncilAgendas/2016/Mar_01/5.pdf

Jeanne Sparks
SBCAN Associate Director
jeanne@sbcan.org

TALKING POINTS FROM COUNCILWOMAN TERRI ZUNIGA. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, CALL HER AT 260.5080:

Your experience as you travel through the City should be positive.   

This is about balancing competing community interests.  Auto dealers are part of the community.  Revenues fund City services.  I want to do everything we can to help the auto dealers, but not at the cost of the rest of the community. 

Betteravia and 101 is a prime location that has a regional draw.  Costco will pull in thousands of customers a day.  Canopy trees or not, the region will know your auto dealers are here.  If you provide great deals and service, your businesses will flourish.  The editor for the Santa Maria Times wrote an editorial “Moving the bar, carefully” where the same point is made.  Many residents have spoken to me about this topic.  The community wants to beautify the City because we deserve it. 

The Plan requires no trees for about 800 feet of frontage where you actually have the direct freeway views. You will have a freeway tower sign with the names of each dealer.  You will have more sign area than the ordinance normally allows.  All the City asks is that we be allowed to make the rest of Bradley Road a canopy tree-lined street.    

You say it will affect your success.  You have not convinced me that canopy street trees along the rest of your Bradley Road frontage is going to have any impact on your success.  

I watched the recording of the Planning Commission meeting and you showed an example of a 100-acre dealership area that an Arizona city made plant canopy trees, and our staff has confirmed that that dealership area is successful.  So the Specific Plan doesn’t propose something that is unprecedented.  I see the canopy trees helping the City’s image and I want us to find a way to make this happen. 

It really comes down to two simple points.  I believe canopy tree-lined streets will improve our community, and I believe the canopy street trees will have no negative impact on the auto dealers with all of the concessions provided in the Specific Plan.  

An active and vibrant streetscape provides economic and environmental advantages. 

This is the first project coming for approval under the new vision for the city. It will set a precedent. 

 

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Santa Barbara County Action Network
Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN) works to promote social and economic justice, to preserve our environmental and agricultural resources, and to create sustainable communities.