Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

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By edhat staff

The proposal for the new Santa Barbara Police Department station moves on to the city's Planning Commission after a 4-2 approval from the Architectural Board of Review (ABR).

During a special meeting on February 12, ABR heard another concept review on the proposed station after expressing concern in November over the "cold" design sketches and location of the main entrance.

The $80 million project lead by architect Brian Cearnal, of Cearnal Collective, will consolidate police operations from four separate sites.

The three-story, 53-foot high, 65,000 square foot station will take over the commuter parking lot at 119 E. Cota Street, where the Saturday Farmer's Market takes place. An associated 37.5-foot high and 86,000 square foot parking structure will also be built to accommodate 244 parking spaces. Each structure would have a subterranean level and additional surface parking would be provided. 

While most of the ABR members expressed an improvement to the building's sketches from their last meeting, there were still comments on its dominating appearance, "dark, gloomy" front entrance, and making Cota Street "devoid of activity" due to the parking lot's placement.


View along Cota Street looking North (courtesy image)

"As much as it is important to me to create a beautiful civic building, the building has got to work for the police department first and foremost," said Cearnal.

With this recent approval, the project is then sent to the Planning Commission who will decide whether to approve the 53-foot height of the building as the limit is 45-feet in that area. The ABR will deliberate once again pending approval from the Planning Commission.

More details and sketches of the project can be found here.

Related Articles

November 18, 2020: Mixed Reviews of New Santa Barbara Police Station Design

 November 10, 2020: Conceptual Plans of Police Station to be Unveiled

 September 12, 2019: City Council to Review New Police Station Locations

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a-1614109334 Feb 23, 2021 11:42 AM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

Way too massive. Absolutely WRONG place in lower income neighborhood! Nothing learned or cared about from the "Black Lives Matter" movement. Don't need glorified, gigantic police stations. Don't need police who are unaccountable because of Union negotiated protection endorsed by intimidated government officials. Ever been in Municipal Court building? They are nasty to you just for walking in. Entire police and criminal un-justice system needs reeducation. Also, this architect knows the loopholes so builds massively even when not needed. City Council behaves unwisely.

a-1614107427 Feb 23, 2021 11:10 AM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

Yucko! That's one ugly MF. But I say, get it done and built so we can all stop hearing about it. It has been obvious through this whole process that the general public's concerns will NEVER ever be taken seriously on this topic. So take what you want, PD, and build your excessively ugly building in the location no one wanted it in, so we can all stop listening to your incessant whining.

Channelfog Feb 23, 2021 04:09 AM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

Behemoths such as this are an insult to the architecture that they attempt to emulate and further "canyonize" an already overbuilt, congested city. Contrasted with the still functioning Jewel of a Court House, this is c***! Serving as a juror in that majestic building was more than tolerable.

doulie Feb 23, 2021 09:32 AM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

CHANNEL - This "behemoth," as you call it, would be smaller than the current four-story building in the first block of E. Cota Street. I believe it was part of a storage business operating in the area 60+ years ago. Take a look at the area from this building that stretches east towards Anacapa Street. Definitely not much to look at. I understand when you say overbuilt but the new building space includes plenty of parking. As to how the new building looks, there should be some arches added on the ground floor similar to the Santa Barbara Hotel on State Street.

a-1614101094 Feb 23, 2021 09:24 AM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

ChannelFog, How tall is the County Courthouse? To answer that question, parts are as low as 40 feet but it goes up to 111 feet. And how large is the footprint on the ground? It takes an entire City block which is no longer available within the City limits to allow the police station to be spread out in a similar fashion.

a-1614060424 Feb 22, 2021 10:07 PM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

Ugly, ugly, ugly, large modernistic building in our small city that has prided itself on Spanish architecture, a building that gives the finger to the city's height limitation! A building design that could be (and is!) anywhere. Why does it need 244 parking places --- are that many police and workers, total: 211 employees and 141 sworn officers, expected to park there at once? How many need parking per shift? Why can't the employees walk from the two city parking lots just across Anacapa Street?
Since city residents are being forced to limit cars with but one parking space/household why are the police employees not on a similar diet with their own personal vehicles? Well-paid government employees should not be given additional parking perqs when there are nearby alternatives. (Sworn police officers are in a different category.)

It's likely the majority of the weak planning commission will roll over on this one and we will be stuck with this horror that will completely overwhelm the neighborhood.

PitMix Feb 23, 2021 07:30 AM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

I would rather have a smaller building that is much higher if that would work for them. Maybe more room for the flagpole that seems to concern some people here. The Granada building is much higher but doesn't seem to cause conniption fits in people. This is 2021, the earth is crammed with people, adhering to silly height limits means you get buildings that extend to the sidewalks in all directions. That doesn't seem to be very safe.

Sensibly Common Feb 23, 2021 05:57 AM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

That’s a great point about the size of the parking lot. When you think of it that way, the parking lot is way oversized and the size of the lot is driving the overall building size.

To take that a step further, how much is the oversized parking lot going to cost? For me, I would rather repair streets and sidewalks than build an expensive oversized parking lot.

doulie Feb 22, 2021 07:11 PM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

BASIC - No, I can't place the flag pole where I want it, this is why I asked my question. If you're correct stating it can't be seen from a certain angle, my question is why? Most flag poles I've noticed are positioned in order to allow the flag(s) to be easily seen. I'm confident if the pole needs to be relocated it won't delay any progress in building construction.

citizenSB Feb 22, 2021 04:25 PM
Proposed Santa Barbara Police Station Building Moves on to Planning Commission

Measure C added and additional 1% to sales tax bringing the total to 8.75%.
Measure C collected $22.9M the year ending Sept 30 2020 and I would guess with the pandemic it will be less this year. How does the city expect to pay $80M for a police station and still be able to fix our streets and other infrastructure?
The original budget for the Cabrillo Pavilion Renovation was $2M and the actual cost was $4.5M hopefully the police station will not be over budget by 2.25x.

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