CPA Comments on de la Guerra Plaza

March 25,2019

Re: Santa Barbara City Council Agenda Item 14, Amendment To Contract For De La Guerra Plaza Preliminary Design And De La Guerra Plaza Revitalization Public Outreach Update

Dear Mayor Murillo and Santa Barbara City Councilmembers:

Citizens Planning Association has been listening closely to the conversations about our wonderful de la Guerra Plaza, attending also the Saturday workshop, listening also to the presentation at our member organization, Allied Neighborhoods Association on Monday, 3/18. In so many ways de la Guerra Plaza, “the ceremonial and civic center of Santa Barbara,” Santa Barbara, El Pueblo Viejo, 2016, pg. 135. is the heart of Santa Barbara, a place for public interest gatherings, Fiesta festivities and simply, at times, welcome open space, a place to muse on the beauty and history of our city.

Anything that contemplates change needs serious and prolonged consideration from a great variety of people and groups, starting with those who have a deep knowledge of Santa Barbara’s history. It sounded at the recent Allied meeting as though it’s been decided to move the Saturday farmers market to the Plaza. There’s far from unanimity or, probably, even majority support for this.

We did not know at that meeting that the Council agenda report would be requesting significant money to develop a “conceptual design”, something quite far along in the design process, when so far as we know, there is not yet an agreed upon concept by Santa Barbarans and you, our representatives. How can there be a design without a consensus of Santa Barbarans for a concept?

Please slow the process. We suggest following the examples of the recent AIA charrettes. Suggested designs for change could then be shown at a Council meeting and broadcast through Channel 18 so that the majority of people who did not have the opportunity to be at the workshop could see and weigh in on what’s being considered.


Marell Brooks

Betsy Cramer

Co-Presidents, Citizens Planning Association

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