Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Save Old Town Goleta from Development title=
Save Old Town Goleta from Development
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The front of Goleta Valley Community Center in Old Town Goleta (file photo)

By Tom Modugno

As a Goleta Old Town business owner, I am concerned about a serious matter coming before City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 5th. The Goleta Chamber of Commerce is once again trying to change the character of our Old Town community. This time they are aggressively pursuing the creation of a Property Business Improvement District (PBID) for Old Town. The PBID would collect revenue from property owners via an Assessment/Tax on all commercial properties and use the money to improve Old Town. Of course, the landlords will recoup this added expense by raising their tenants’ rent, which could cause many locally owned Mom and Pop shops to go out of business. 

If you’re familiar with Old Town Goleta, you know that the Chamber has wanted to change Old Town for years now. This is their latest attempt at changing the nature of our community to something that better serves them, something more along the lines of the Hollister Village eyesore. A prefab strip mall with no personality and lots of big chains, paying too much rent. 

If you look at the new Board of Directors for the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, you have to wonder if they care at all about the quality of life in Goleta, or just making it more profitable. Check out who's on their new Board of Directors:

  • Ryan Aeh of City Ventures, (California's leading builder) 
  • Francois DeJohn of Hayes Commercial Group, (realtors)
  • Barry Dorsey of The Kimpton Goodland Hotel, (International Hotel chain)
  • Steve Greig of Plains All American Pipeline….
  • Brian Larinan of Granite Construction, (one of the largest construction companies in the U.S.)
  • John Longbrake of UC Santa Barbara, (see Storke Road)
  • Craig Minus of The Towbes Group, (local developers)
  • Roberto van Geenen of The Ritz-Carlton Bacara

What do they all have in common? A love for Goleta? Or a love of profits.

Their goal is to change the makeup of Old Town. Dismiss all these locally owned shops and bring in the Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts that can afford to pay inflated rents. The very nature of a PBID is to increase rents and property values. Drive through Old Town Goleta today and notice how many empty storefronts there are. Less than a handful. Now drive down State Street, where property values and rents are high. Several hands full… The reason Old Town is thriving today is because it’s the last place an individual can afford the rent to open a new business. The American Dream still lives in Old Town.

If the city passes legislation allowing the PBID, Old Town would exit democratic control and major decisions would then be made by the Chamber for 5 years! Power concentrated into the hands of a few that answer to outside investors. They would decide things like who is offered retail space, and who isn’t, kick out street vendors, heavily influence legislation and they can hire their own security to patrol the area. 

Certainly, Old Town could use a little polish, but a PBID is an extreme solution for a small problem. A local grass roots group has already started fixing up our small problems. The Goleta Old Town Community Association has regular street cleanups and organizes lots of other fun, family events, including the Christmas Parade. A local group with no big corporations calling the shots. All community, small town, old school goodness. Why not let them continue to grow their efforts instead of signing into a 5 year contract with a group controlled big corporations that don’t have our best interests in mind.

With this powerful group pushing to control Old Town Goleta through a PBID, the City Council will surely face a large crowd of pro-chamber people at the February 5th meeting. If you think there is a better way to spruce up Old Town, then come to the meeting and show your support for Small Town Goleta. Locally Owned Goleta. Grass Roots Goleta. Old Town is unique and it’s where the last bit of original Goleta Spirit still exists. Let’s protect this endangered species. Come to the meeting and Say No to a Chamber of Commerce PBID!

Goleta City Council meeting   
Feb. 5th - 6pm 
130 Cremona Way

If you can’t make the meeting, send an email encouraging the City Council to stand up and say No to the Chamber of Commerce.

City Council contacts:

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REX OF SB Feb 01, 2019 01:54 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Tom, I can’t agree with you more! There is NOTHING wrong with Old Town Goleta. Point of fact, I probably spend more $$$ there than in the city of SB, where I’m a lifelong resident. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There is nothing “broke” about Old Town Goleta. God, I hate corporate America.

CoastWatch Feb 01, 2019 02:04 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

I like Old town G, but it needs a facelift--- I am not in favor of installing corporate "box stores", and I like and support the small business owners.... That being said, in appears that most of the buildings are in a state of disrepair and there is zero eye appeal Hollister between Toyota of SB and Fairview.

a-1549061299 Feb 01, 2019 02:48 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

So many great small and thriving businesses on that stretch of Hollister, and a few blocks in. Leave well enough alone. We love Goleta School of Ballet, Goodland Kitchen, LaChapala Market, Krav Maga, Old Town Coffee, Santa Cruz Market, the florist right next to the market, Noodle City, of course The Habit, and so much more! Really the whole area is such a diamond in the rough! So many wonderful business entities, artisans, craftspeople, and tradesmen in that area too! We all need to support small business! Hope City Council does not let all this vibrancy go to the wayside.

Flicka Feb 01, 2019 03:47 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Although I live in Carpinteria I do drive to Goleta at times and to me "Old Town" is a gem. Don't mess with it. Hoards of Goleta residents need to loudly protest any changes. Go to the meeting February 5th!!

420722 Feb 01, 2019 04:26 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

I spend my money all over this town including Goleta and old town and everytime I head to old town I am instantly satisfied by the feeling of community. Everyone knows everyone and all the shops are thriving. Other than a facelift what the hell is wrong the chamber wanting to mess with something that is working!? I wish I could put them all on a remote island to keep them and their greedy little paws away from us.

winter Feb 01, 2019 05:44 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

I love old town !
People are so stories of growing up in the lemon groves.
Today, went out to
Got so stressed out with the traffic, big business / condos..

420722 Feb 01, 2019 08:23 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Then stay in SB..Your type isn’t needed in old town. The people there are happy (and friendly) and I know this because I know them.

a-1549085139 Feb 01, 2019 09:25 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

You know this was bound to happen. It has everything to do with getting those old-timey little houses razed and putting in hotels and other such generic ugly stuff. You gotta hand it to them: the developers never cease planning how to make money. Their energy for creating concrete characterless monstrosities is infinite.

woodruff Feb 01, 2019 10:53 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Hey, Goleta is flat, buildable land up for grabs, with water allegedly available according to certain highly flexible rules. The voters' lack of interest in the folks they elect--who the hell cares?

Roger Feb 02, 2019 05:32 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Leave Old Town Goleta ALONE It's the only part of old town that still exists..As far as the Weed stores go 9 are too many for that area.

SantaBarbaraObserver Feb 02, 2019 07:49 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

I know there is some nostalgia for the area but it really looks and feels like a dump. The old storefronts, the lack of design cohesion and the general seediness of the area. It really could use some spritzing. With a major university nearby and a growing population, the Hollister corridor should be upgraded and renewed. Unless Goleta wants to present itself as a dilapidated red-headed stepchild of SB... As for weed: Here's a major news story. People love weed! Its pure supply and demand, just like the influx of massage parlors and tire stores... I have no idea if 9 is too many, but the market will tell you in a little time.

420722 Feb 02, 2019 03:05 PM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

I’d rather be the stepchild, at least the stores out in old town have been open (some for over 40 years!!) and businesses are thriving. Can’t say the same for crime filled piss and feces stained state street with empty stores. Is that what you people want? I seriously don’t get it. Give old town a bath not a tear down.

sbdude Feb 02, 2019 08:09 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

I agree with Tom. Fix it up, don't tear it down. Old Town is a real community with many, many long-time families and businesses that would no doubt be pushed out by redevelopment. The area IS in desperate need of an organized refresh - update some of the storefronts, redo the sidewalks, paint, and landscaping all around - but please don't bulldoze blocks and put up generic strip malls.

a-1549126324 Feb 02, 2019 08:52 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Forget the Chamber, yes, they are shamelessly pro development at any cost. BUT Instead of focusing on them, find a way to truly IMPROVE Old Town.....i walked several blocks there a couple weeks ago, and while yes some quaint restaurants are cute, it is very shabby and run needs some sort of community plan or design review or SOMETHING. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater but DO give the babya bath!!

EastBeach Feb 02, 2019 09:34 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Well-made case Tom. I completely agree. So long as buildings are up to code and safe, who cares what they look like? It's the community that counts. Good reminder to hit Goleta Sushi House and The Habit soon!

Red Creek Feb 02, 2019 09:40 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

The City requires members of their boards and commissions to be residents of the City of Goleta. They should do the same with "Goleta" Chamber of Commerce members. If they are not residents, the City should not listen to their "recommendations." Who needs advice from out of town developers? Listen to your citizens, City Council, and nix this proposal.

sbsunny Feb 02, 2019 10:24 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

I had no idea this was planned. Old town Goleta is not the cookie cutter down towns that are all through California. It's refreshing to have a town with character and that should be preserved!

craigbob Feb 03, 2019 08:12 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Tom - well stated.
Hollister Village is a blight on the landscape, an embarrassment, the Fresno-ization of our town. During the planning process one of their “experts” had the gall the declare their plans would improve traffic flow. In other words - they out and out lied.
I urge the voters of Goleta to play close attention to the Chamber’s plans. They DO NOT act in the interest of those of us who live in Goleta. The city council will listen to us if we speak out.

ohplease Feb 04, 2019 10:24 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

Have you read what a PBID is? It doesn't look like development after looking at the staff report. The report cites maintenance, security, marketing and promotions, special events and parking. It's curious to me that people aren't supportive of these things, especially when something like 90% of people in Old Town who responded to the City's community survey last year said that Old Town needed improvements like these.

ChrisL Feb 04, 2019 10:49 AM
Save Old Town Goleta from Development

We who LIVE, WORK, SCHOOL, RECREATE, SHOP in Goleta, or ACTIVELY WORK TO PRESERVE GOLETA'S OPEN SPACES and SPECIAL CHARACTER need to BE COUNTED at Tuesday's 6pm City Council meeting. Bravo, Tom! I will be there. Hope my Ellwood friends email and show up too. We have seen over and over local lessees of commercial property being priced out when owners jack up rents - don't let Oldtown fall like Santa Barbara's State Street has done. Oldtown's fix is NOT the PBID!

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