Police Station Update:
On February 12, 2021, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) held a publicly noticed work session with the Design Team for the Police Station Project, and it was overall very positive. In addition to presenting the revised plans, the goal was to provide the ABR with some additional background on the project that previously had not been presented due to the time constraints for the presentations.
This background helped explain some of the design criteria and constraints under which the project is working. The Board appreciated the changes that were implemented since the previous hearing in January 2021.
Although the design is not yet complete, the Board voted 4-2 for the project to proceed to the Planning Commission to request the height exception above 45 feet. As a designated Community Benefit Project, the building height can exceed the 45-foot height limitation for the area. The ABR approved of the height of the building and the overall scale of the building, but still had concerns about the Cota Street elevation and the entry proposed on Santa Barbara Street. The elevation of the first floor is set by the entry elevation on Santa Barbara Street, as well as the required elevation above the worst case flood elevation on Cota Street, based on the Hydrology study conducted on the site. This puts the finished floor elevation between four feet and five feet above Cota Street.
As the project continues to the Planning Commission on March 18, 2021, for an initial concept review and for the height exception request, there are several design elements that are being worked on and refined that the Design Team will take back to the ABR for review after the Planning Commission meeting in March.
Recently, there have been requests made by the public for story poles to be constructed in order for the proposed height of the building to be assessed. For a building this size, story poles up to the height of 53 feet would be required. Also, the story poles would require the displacement or closure of the Farmers’ Market for at least two weeks, possibly three. The Design Team is confident in a technological solution that will graphically show the building simulated into a fly-over of the area and show the building in context with the buildings around it and in the context of the downtown area of Santa Barbara. This is an effective evaluation tool that could take the place of story poles. There are two different simulations. One is a 360-degree fly-over using Google Earth, and that can be viewed by clicking HERE. The other is a street level view also using Google Earth and that can be viewed by clicking HERE.
We encourage all who are interested in this project to stay involved to improve this important project for the City of Santa Barbara.