Concept Review for 335 S. Milpas Street

To the Architectural Board of Review:

Citizens Planning Association has worked within Santa Barbara City and County for good planning since 1960. The off-ramp area from the 101 to Milpas is truly the “entrada” to Santa Barbara for visitors and locals, alike. This massive proposal does not convey any of “the natural charm and beauty of Santa Barbara” that are the ABR’s Charter responsibilities. What will be seen from 101 could be the view of any Southern California city.

The applicant’s photos show it to be too massive; it is also too tall – four stories can be kept within 45’and still maintain livability! Their photos also show it to be mountain view-blocking from the ball field and Cabrillo Boulevard.

Cabrillo Boulevard is an important Scenic Resource and “the segment of Highway 101 within the Coastal Zone (which stretches from Olive Mill Road to the Castillo Street interchange) provides a distinctive visual gateway to the community.” (Scenic Resources, Santa Barbara General Plan.) This mixed use project backs up to that section of the highway. Views from Cabrillo Boulevard will be impacted.

We request that there be story poles erected so that Santa Barbarans can see the proposed height and massiveness. The expense of these poles is minor compared with the rights of the residents to understand the challenge to their protected Scenic Resources. We support the owner covenanting that the employees of Tri-County Produce will have affordable housing, but there needs also to be consideration for the wider neighborhoods.

In addition, projects subject to the ABR purview need to recognize and “protect and preserve, as nearly as practicable, the natural charm and beauty of Santa Barbara, including the historical style, qualities, characteristics of the buildings, structures and architectural features associated with and established by its long, illustrious and distinguished past.” (, General Functions.) This proposal seems to not consider at all the broader and historic Santa Barbara community.

Along with the erection of story poles, we suggest that the design concept of the Hilton with its separate buildings, giving space between buildings for views and relaxation against massive wall-like structures be a model.

Thank you for respecting our comments,

Mary Ellen Brooks, president of Citizens Planning Association