To: Historic Landmarks Commission
From: Citizens Planning Association
Re: Conditions of Current Paseos
August 30, 2021
Dear City Historic Landmarks Commissioners: It has come to the attention of Citizens Planning Association that some existing policies regarding historic paseos are being disregarded by the City Public Works Department. We are writing to make sure that all City policies, especially those pertaining to historic areas in the downtown area, are followed by all City departments.
In a recent letter sent to the City Council by two local experts in historic preservation policy, the focus is on issues regarding using the paseos as garbage refuse storage areas and then charging for such a use. It was very discouraging to see the photos of these specially designed historic paseos now filled with garbage, blocked off with unsightly chain link fences, and large infrastructure which actually block pedestrians. (See photos attached)
As State Street undergoes its lengthy and expensive planning update, our paseos should be embraced as historic design features, not torn down or allowed to deteriorate into littered alleyways. Many of the architectural sketches displayed in the windows along State Street reflect a respect for these features. The photos we have attached do not.
The letter suggests the paseos are being treated like public nuisances, not the passageways protected by Design Guidelines for El Pueblo Viejo. CPA has been around for 62 years and our archives contain proof that these design elements are a cherished part of Santa Barbara. We invite both commission members and Public Works staff to examine some of the historic documents used to come up with policies to protect and enhance the paseos.
CPA supports the suggestions made in the recent letter. No one from CPA is on the recently formed State Street committee but we know several members who might have a strong background and appreciation of existing policies that need to be considered in any new direction taken. Like the Historic Landmarks Commission, CPA wants to be a partner and prefers working proactively, basing our input on current strong policies.
CPA looks forward to the City Council, the ARB, the Planning Commission, the HLC, and the new State Street vision group taking a firm position to protect the current policies regarding the historic resources of our beautiful city. These photos show the City going in the wrong direction. Santa Barbara deserves better.