A “life or death” situation faces Allstate’s Insurance proposal for construction of a $5 million regional office in the Goleta Valley. Allstate’s rezoning request, needed to be approved before plans of the project could continue, was denied two weeks ago in a tie vote by the County Planning Commission.
After the decision, Allstate’s attorney Arthur Henzell immediately filed an appeal with the Board of Supervisors. The appeal will go before the Board next Monday afternoon.
Rejection of Allstate’s Goleta site by the County Planning Commission is being interpreted as an indication that many people are having second thoughts about the value of “growth” especially in the Goleta Valley.
Only a couple of years ago top officials in and out of the city of Santa Barbara were urgently talking of the need to “add to the tax base.”
Now they are privately citing a Ventura County Planning Department study showing that only agriculture pays its own way in terms of property tax from residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural land weighed against the cost of community service.
At least three of the four dissenting commissioners expressed deep concern about the undesirable effects of uncontrolled growth and urban sprawl. At least two of them were irked at what they felt was a “big boy” coming in dangling the carrot of jobs but insisting on a suburban site requiring a rezoning and a general plan change.
Inherent in the Allstate proposal, foes claim, is whether or not additional Goleta population will mean importing expensive water and whether or not new developments should be made to pay the extra water costs.
Also involved in the growth question are the community’s beauty, congestion, jobs, tax bill, quality of life and economic and psychological health, among other things.
Henzell has expressed that he thinks Allstate has a good case and is hopeful to win the appeal before the Board of Supervisors next Monday.