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Status UpdatesPublic Works

October 18, 2021:
Police Station Status Update
The Santa Barbara Police Station Project has progressed since April of 2021. Following support from the Architectural Board of Review to proceed, the Planning Commission was given a project update on March 18, 2021, and a request was made for a height exception. The height limitation for the area is 45 feet, but as a Community Benefit Designated Project, the height can be increased up to 60 feet with the Planning Commission’s approval. After discussion, this height exception was granted.
Following the Planning Commission’s approval for the height exemption, the design team submitted the Development Application Review Team (DART) package to Community Development on June 15, 2021. The project received its DART Response Letter in July of 2021, and the design team worked to re-submit the package, and resolved all outstanding issues on September 3, 2021. The project received another Response Letter on October 12, 2021, with the final items that need attention prior to deeming the application complete.

Once the DART Application is deemed complete, the Initial Study will be written to determine the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document that will be appropriate for the project.

After the CEQA document is written and reviewed, the project will go to Planning Commission for review of the document. This review will be followed by a hearing with City Council to request adoption of the CEQA document and approve the project. Assuming the project is approved, it will then go back to the Planning Commission for Development Plan Approval.

These actions will formally approve the use of the City’s Cota Commuter Parking Lot as the new location for the Police Station. As part of these approvals, the address for the property will change from 119 East Cota Street to 601 Santa Barbara Street.
Once the project has received its Entitlements, the next phase of the project is the creation of the Design Development Plans and the Construction Documents to submit for a building permit. It is expected the project will received its building permit in 2023, but dates are uncertain at this time and, therefore, projections are best estimates.

Thank you for your continued interest in this very important civic project.


April 29, 2021:
The Police Station Project received unanimous approval from the Planning Commission on March 18, 2021, for the height exception for this community benefit project. The Planning Commission directed staff to return to the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) to approve the project and proceed forward with a Development Application Review Team (DART) submittal. On April 19, 2021, the revised Police Station design went before the ABR for a fourth concept review and received affirmative comments and direction. After reviewing the design, asking questions, and providing comments to the design team, ABR approved that request, and the design team is preparing the DART application for a spring 2021 submittal to the City Planning Department. Once that application is deemed complete, the environmental review will commence. The goal is to have the project through the California Environmental Quality Act process by the fall of 2021. 

Many are aware that if the Police Station is located at the Cota Commuter Lot, the Farmers’ Market Association will need to relocate its Saturday market. The Farmers’ Market Association has been working with City Staff to evaluate the 00 block of Carrillo Street as the preferred location for its Saturday market. The space would be on Carrillo Street between Chapala Street and Anacapa Street, and up and down State Street for approximately one block in both directions. The Farmers Market has submitted a DART application to the City and is moving forward at this point. There are required improvements as part of this project and the City is committed to assisting the Farmers’ Market Association throughout the process.


April 19, 2021:
On March 18, 2021, the Police Station project was presented to the Planning Commission seeking a height exception for the Community Benefit Project and it received unanimous approval. The Project will be heard once again by the Architectural Board of Review today, April 19, 2021, from 4:00 – 5:00 to review the latest revisions. If you are interested in participating or listening in, the link to the meeting can be found on today’s ABR Agenda here: https://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/brdcomm/ac/abr/agendas.asp


March 17, 2021:
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 was supportive 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.  

The project will be before 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. If you would like to listen to or participate in the planning commission hearing, please register for the meeting using the link found on the meeting’s agenda HERE .

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.  Additionally, three photo simulations showing existing and proposed views have been installed at the site for the public to view.  Those photo simulations can be seen here as well using the following links:

Link to Photo view from Cota Street

Link to Photo view from corner of Cota and Santa Barbara Streets

Link to Photo view from Santa Barbara Street

We encourage all who are interested in this project to stay involved to improve this important project for the City of Santa Barbara.


March 10, 2021:
Police Station to go before Planning Commission - 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.


February 8, 2021:
Architectural Board of Review Concept Hearing for the Santa Barbara Police Station Project
The Architectural Board of Review will be conducting a Work Session with the Applicant and design team for the City’s Police Station Project on Friday, February 12, from 1:00 – 4:00 PM.  Public is welcome.  If you would like to virtually attend the meeting, the login information is found on the ABR Website:  http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/brdcomm/ac/abr/agendas.asp 


November 11, 2020:
Architectural Board of Review Concept Hearing for the Santa Barbara Police Station Project

On Monday, November 16, the same presentation that was given on November 9, 2020, will be given to the Architectural Board of Review for the concept hearing of the project.  The public can participate virtually and all online participation information is on the agenda for the ABR meeting here santabarbaraca.gov/abr.


November 9, 2020:
Santa Barbara Police Station Neighborhood Preview Meeting
On Monday, November 9, the City held a virtual neighborhood preview meeting for those within 300’ from the proposed project site. As neighborhood outreach is a part of every large project, the Covid-19 circumstances required that this outreach be virtual and provided information about the project and the opportunity to ask questions. the recording of the meeting is available for those interested and can be accessed here by clicking here.


October 14, 2020:
Progress over the past year
On September 17, 2019, City Council selected the Cota Commuter Parking Lot as the preferred site alternative for environmental review for the new police station in Santa Barbara.  As part of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) environmental review, technical studies are required that will inform the design and environmental review. The City selected Dudek as the environmental consultant to produce the technical studies, conduct peer review of studies previously completed, and evaluate the site for potential environmental impacts.  This review has been completed and will culminate in an Initial Study.

Cearnal Collective and McClaren Wilson and Lawrie (MWL) are the architects producing 30% drawings for the project as part of the environmental review.  The project has received Community Benefit Status from City Council and, therefore, has the possibility of going over the 45' height limit for the area.

City Staff has submitted an application to the City’s Preliminary Review Team (PRT) and will be submitting plans to the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) for a concept hearing.  Feedback from ABR will be taken into account.  Following ABR, the project will go before Planning Commission to request the height increase above 45'.

It is expected that the project will be submitted to the Development Application Review Team (DART) submittal in early 2021.


UPCOMING HEARINGS:
Architectural Board of Review (ABR) Concept Hearing:  November 2020
Planning Commission Concept Hearing – height increase request:  Late 2020


SCHEDULE:
Once the project has completed its DART Submittal a schedule for the project will be posted here.


BUDGET:
A preliminary budget has been produced based on preliminary plans but cannot be relied upon enough to post here.  Once the plans have been developed beyond schematic and conceptual design, it will then be appropriate to produce a budget that can be more confidently relied upon.

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2021
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