Protecting Santa Barbara County Since 1960

Citizens Planning Association has deep roots in the Santa Barbara community that can be traced back to Pearl Chase’s Plans and Planting Committee, a group which was concerned about how Santa Barbara developed.

The group helped create the cohesive sense of community identity that exists in Santa Barbara today due to Spanish-style architectural requirements, stringent zoning requirements and a very restrictive sign ordinance. Their efforts were particularly timely as Santa Barbara struggled to rebuild itself after the 1925 earthquake, which badly damaged the city.

The first board of CPA, was a veritable Who’s Who of Santa Barbara County’s leading citizens. Board members included Dr. Samuel B. Gould, Chancellor of the University of California Santa Barbara and T.M. Storke, the influential editor and publisher of Santa Barbara’s only daily newspaper.

The influence of such a prominent group of citizens was readily apparent when, within months of its formation, CPA called upon both the City and the County of Santa Barbara to adopt General Plans as a means of planning for future growth. Faced with resistance on the part of elected officials, the organization hired an outside consultant who successfully developed plans with collaborative community support. Only then did local elected officials endorse the project. These plans laid the groundwork for protecting our community by safeguarding the city and county against unplanned and unwise growth.

Santa Barbara County’s original General Plan Report in 1962 notes in its Introduction: The Citizens Planning Association, composed of representatives from diverse groups representing all levels of activity in the County, aided materially by encouraging the Legislative bodies of both the County of Santa Barbara and the City of Santa Barbara to initiate this program.

CPA is also called out prominently in the Introduction of the City of Santa Barbara’s original General Plan, adopted on July 28, 1964: without any question, the most telling influence on the relationship between the community and the General Plan program has been and is the activities of the Citizens Planning Association of Santa Barbara County. Without the assistance of the C.P.A., much of the effectiveness and scope of the General Plan presentations throughout the community would have been lost.