Mouth versus source
I enjoyed Judith Dale’s piece on the Santa Ynez River, but she makes a common mistake: the “mouth” of a river is where it empties into another body of water, in this case the Pacific Ocean at Surf. What she means to say is that Juncal Dam is the first dam from the “source” of the river.
Let the voice of Solvang voters be heard
Many Solvang residents remember that in 2017 Solvang’s City Council hoped increasing the City’s area by almost a third was the answer to all kinds of problems. However, analysis by the City and residents’ concerns about traffic, water, tourism and neighborhoods did not coincide. Consequently, many residents signed informal petitions and City Council ended its Sphere of Influence study.
Fast forward to 2019-20. Save Our Solvang, formed to stop that study, is now a Campaign Committee spearheading an Urban Growth Boundary Initiative. A UGB is a line beyond which residents of a city are given a vote on whether or not that city will be able to expand outside the UGB. Well thought out projects that meet residents’ needs get a YES vote while unviable projects get a NO vote.
UGBs are not a new idea. In California, 63 cities and counties adopted UGBs and have been renewing them. All eligible cities in Ventura County, as well as the County itself, earlier adopted and in 2016 renewed their UGBs. Half of their proposals for developments outside their UGBs were adopted by their residents. Closer to Solvang, both Buellton and Goleta use UGBs
In Solvang’s proposed UGB, its border is the same as the current City limits and will be in effect for 20 years. Public schools, public services and facilities and state mandated housing do not require a citizens’ vote to adjust the UGB. The UGB will not prevent Solvang from developing a plan for its current western Sphere of Influence but will require a vote of its residents before implementing it.
This Urban Growth Boundary will:
• Discourage poorly planned growth on land surrounding Solvang
• Encourage compact development and infill
• Enhance Solvang’s small-town character and support downtown businesses
• Make sure voters know the specifics of any proposals to modify the UGB
• Give residents a strong voice in major growth and development decisions surrounding Solvang
• Enable a more collaborative process between citizens and city leaders.
Chair, Save Our Solvang
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