Area: Approximately 309 acres
North: The bottom of the Riviera and Alameda Padre Serra
South: Laguna Street and Milpas Street
West: The Old Mission
East: Canon Perdido Street
The Lower Riviera contains the Roosevelt Elementary School, Mission Park and Hillside (Orpet) Park serve the district. The County Bowl is also located in this area. It is an approximately 3500 seat outdoor amphitheater. St. Francis Hospital is located in the neighborhood.
The Lower Riviera is primarily given over to residential uses, with single-family home development predominating, but with significant pockets of more intensive duplex and multiple-unit development. Generally, the area contains many attractive homes with views overlooking the City. The General Plan designates this neighborhood primarily for a density of three dwelling units to the acre with small portions to the west and south at higher densities of twelve dwelling units to the acre. Any growth that may occur will take place in the areas now designated for higher-density development. Lot sizes, in general are rather small, considering the steep topography of the Lower Riviera neighborhood. The major problem exists in the western portion in the Grand Avenue area where the development is more complete. The lots here are small and the street pattern is characterized by very steep grades and inadequate cross sections. To complicate this basic difficulty where land is subdivided into a pattern unsuited to the topography, the area has been zoned R- 2 since the very first zoning ordinance of the City went into effect in 1930. It is surmised that this zoning was placed on the land because of its location adjacent to the State Teachers College above Alameda Padre Serra. The campus later became the University of California Branch at Santa Barbara. No longer occupied by the University, the facility is now being used for private educational purposes and for administrative offices. As a consequence of its proximity to the campus, the single family houses in the Grand Avenue area were converted into small apartments for student housing. These apartments have continued in use as regular rental units. The effects are overcrowding of the land and automobile congestion. The latter problem is intensified by the lack of off-street parking and the narrowness of the streets.
The solution to the problem in the Grand Avenue lies not in the reduction of density, for this would call for massive redevelopment, including complete re-subdivision. It would be wiser to accept the basic development of the area as it is and to devise unique and special solutions to the particular problems presented. For example, special community off-street parking facilities might be provided in each block rather than attempting to widen any of the streets in order to provide on-street parking. Special zoning regulations might be applied to this particular area to allow greater flexibility in the design and location of off-street parking spaces so that all available and workable space might be put to use.