Concern from the Neighbors
In the July 14 issue of the Montecito Journal, Joe Armendariz’s letter to the editor titled “Radical Status,” contained multiple inaccurate assertions related to the application for the Radis/Roots Cannabis retail store proposed location on Santa Claus Lane, as well as misinformation concerning existing businesses there. Mr. Armendariz fails to mention that he is a paid consultant for the Radis/Roots applicants and has been lobbying on the applicants’ behalf for many months. He does not live or work on Santa Claus Lane nor in any of the neighborhoods near Santa Claus Lane – he is not a concerned neighbor. The misinformation that he stated includes:
1. He suggests that the opposition to the cannabis store at the proposed location is by a “disgruntled neighbor.” In fact, an overwhelming majority of the residents in nearby neighborhoods, as well as the majority of business owners along Santa Claus Lane, are strongly opposed to this location. There has been an opposition petition signed by over 200 nearby business, neighbors, and property owners which was sent to the Santa Barbara County staff.
2. He states that our property, next door to the proposed site for the cannabis store, has “no dedicated parking spaces,” which is not true. There is exclusive on-site parking on our property. Also, all business usage for each retail space has a legitimate, approved use, not only by decades of past history but also with an “As Built” development plan approved by the Santa Barbara County 18 years ago.
3. He states that Radis/Roots Carpinteria will have 22 dedicated onsite parking spaces. In fact, the Radis/Roots’ Cannabis Retail application and the plans submitted for the 5/23/22 Zoning Administrator hearing actually designate a total of 12 spaces for the many commercial and business uses at the site – including the cannabis store (employees, customers, and fleet of delivery vans). This limited parking would have to also serve another large retail store, an electric company that currently parks up to 12 large trucks used in that business and an architecture office as well as several other offices that are reportedly not related to the proposed cannabis operation, all located on this property. In fact, the application submitted states that the proposed cannabis store operations alone can have up to 56 customers and employees at any given time, again not including the fleet of cannabis delivery vehicles. That is a much higher number than the existing use. The author fails to acknowledge that much of the existing parking behind the building is actually on the railroad right-of-way with a short-term, no reasons needed for termination, lease from Union Pacific.
4. In an attempt to justifying the cannabis store, he states “for every $10 spent at the Radis/Roots Carpinteria store, $18 is projected to be injected back into the local community” with no mention as to how that would be accomplished.
I realize anyone can say anything, but it should be incumbent upon this author to at least get the facts straight. With the significant increased intensity of use of a cannabis store, the increased traffic in an already packed location, inadequate parking that will impact coastal access, incompatibility with a child-friendly, family-oriented beachside lane with an armed guard at the entrance and neighborhood security are the issues here.
Let’s stay with the facts and the issues.
Steve Kent for Preserve Access to Santa Claus Lane and Beach
Sanctuary Centers Support
I’m writing to compliment Steven Libowitz on an excellent article in the July 21 MJ about Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara. This is an excellent nonprofit that has helped psychiatric patients in Santa Barbara for 46 years. I have been the Medical Director for the past 18 years and have helped Barry Schoer with his center’s patients for over 30 years. Many people who live in the area drive right past it and don’t even know that it exists. With our assistance, the cycle of patients going in and out of the hospital and living on the streets has been broken. We find the right medication and therapy while providing housing as patients do volunteer work and eventually go back to school and get paid jobs. Jackson Browne along with his friends, Jeff Bridges and David Crosby, have done fundraisers to raise money for the new building. More money is needed to help Sanctuary achieve its goals to provide more help to more people in the future. I play tennis with the Montecito Mafia every week and I know that many of my fellow players don’t know anything about Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara so I hope this article and my letter will encourage others to do more research and donate what they can.
Eli Katz MD
Public Trails Are for the Public
I’ve been a resident since 2003 and have enjoyed hiking the Hot Springs Trail for many years. Hiking in this area provides me with a sense of peace and I appreciate the vistas of the surrounding foothills and coastline. Large boulders haphazardly placed, are blocking public parking along the road. It is both unreasonable and unfair to make it so difficult to access a recreational opportunity. I hope the ill-natured decision to prevent people from accessing the Hot Springs Trail will be overturned. Let’s keep public trails available to all, as intended.