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    Allstate Requests Rezoning

    By Tom Crear, Daily Nexus, February 23, 1972

    Important questions pertaining to the future development of the Goleta Valley and the flexibility of the county’s Master Plan concerning this area rose this week along with a rezoning proposal to the County Planning Commission from Allstate Insurance.

    Allstate has requested that approximately 25 acres adjacent to U.S. 101 near the Timbers Restaurant be rezoned to permit them to construct an office building complex. Currently, the area is zoned for single family residences.

    At a Goleta Valley Citizens Planning group forum held last week, Britt Johnson, county planning director, said he would report to the County Planning Commission March 8 on the rezoning and on the impact of a general plan amendment for the proposed site, Winchester Canyon Road and Calle Real.

    Then commissioners could set a joint hearing on rezoning and on proposed changes in the plan in early April at the earliest. Two or more hearings might be needed before the commission and the County Board of Supervisors, meaning the case ould go into July or August instead of the customary 90-day handling period, Johnson commented.

    According to Charles Graver, citizen’s planning group president, his group has not taken an official stand on the proposal although the board of directors are concerned that Allstate could not find a suitable site within existing zones the master plan allots for commercial uses.

    “This is the kind of industry we want, but we would like to see it in an existing area planned for commercial business,” Graver explained.

    He also commented that he believes the hearings planned for the proposal be general plan hearings and not just zoning hearings. “The proposal involves a change in the County Master Plan and not just a zoning change.”

    At the forum, Allstate was represented by their attorney, Arthur Henzell, who cited a traffic impact study conducted by Allstate in defense of their proposal for rezoning. Allstate estimates 750 trips a day would be made into the area, but, Henzell admitted, a figure of 800 is more reasonable. He also assumes some of the 500 employees planned for the regional office will walk, ride bikes, take the bus or share rides.

    This estimate, if correct, would be considerably less than if the area was fully developed for residential uses. According to Henzell, if 235 housing units are built, they would generate 2,350 trips a day, using the county average of 10 trips a day per home, although some persons at the forum disputed this average.

    If Allstate’s proposal is granted it will mean the company will be able to purchase the property for much less than if it was originally zoned for commercial purposes. However, Graver has indicated that he does not believe that land price is the main reason that Allstate wants the site.

    According to Graver, Allstate wants the property because of the highway frontage it will give them, because Allstate’s plans call for a building in a park-like atmosphere, and also because the firm wants to locate away from other local industries.

    Allstate has maintained that they desire no more commercial business in the area and has proposed planned commercial zoning because of the development controls it gives the county, Henzell commented.

    Michael Morisoli, Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce president who also attended the forum, opined that Allstate was needed to help take up the slack caused by the downturn in local research and development jobs. He called for sensible economic progress but opposed the area becoming “another San Fernando Valley.”

    Graver raised the question concerning how the general plan could be used to guide growth and prevent “randomized development.”

    Johnson stated he did not think the development would cause that area to fill up any faster than it would anyway.

    If the planning commission approves Allstate’s rezoning request, the large office building will be completed in 2-3 years, the Allstate representative said.

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