County Seeking Comments on YMCA 

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   May 23, 2023
The Montecito YMCA project is still in the planning stages after 15 years in the making

The County of Santa Barbara Planning and Development Department (P&D) is soliciting comments on the adequacy and completeness of the environmental document prepared for the proposed renovation, enhancement, and expansion of the Montecito YMCA, located at 591 Santa Rosa Lane. 

The YMCA is seeking to revise its Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to update the Montecito YMCA Master Plan, which has been in the works for 15 years. The revised CUP would allow for the demolition and reconstruction of existing buildings and the construction of several new buildings, as well as the continuation of existing programs including a selection of recreational, fitness, and well-being programs for all age groups. 

Back in 2013, an extensive expansion plan was submitted to the County; that
former plan required that overflow parking be available off-site at Lower Manning Park, but the Y was unable to secure a long-term parking agreement with the County Parks Commission, and instead sought to revise the plans and lessen the parking need, so that all parking could be on the 4.25-acre site. 

A new conceptual design was developed in 2018, which included a change in architectural style and a significant reduction in programming, including eliminating the YMCA’s preschool program. These are still the current plans, which were developed and revised after countless community meetings with concerned neighbors, that include a remodeled and slightly expanded main building, which does not include a second story as originally planned. The existing 7,416 square foot main building would be expanded and renovated, resulting in a structure of approximately 10,336 square feet. The main building will house weight training, cardio, offices, childcare, group fitness, and a flex/meeting room. A new locker room building will be nearly the same size as the current locker rooms, and will include family changing rooms. 

A new multi-purpose/gymnasium building is slated for the northwest corner of the site, requiring multiple trees to be removed. It will serve as a place for basketball, volleyball, and adult wellness classes. The current sports court area will be used for a secondary parking lot now that all parking is required to be on site; the new plan has lessened the parking requirement to 96 spaces. The pool will also be revamped and widened from five lanes to seven. 

The project includes the removal of 10 native trees, which will be mitigated by planting 75 native trees onsite. The project also proposes to increase the membership level limit to 1,950 memberships from an average of 1,550 memberships. Frontage improvements for the project are expected to include construction of sidewalk, curb, and gutter, lighting, utility improvements, and removal of two native trees.

The Negative Declaration prepared for the project identifies and discusses potential impacts, mitigation measures, residual impacts and monitoring requirements for identified subject areas. Significant but mitigable effects on the environment are anticipated in the following areas: aesthetics, biological resources, cultural resources, fire protection, geologic processes, noise, and water resources/flooding. 

The document is available at Parties may comment by submitting written or oral comments to the project planner, Chris Schmuckal at 123 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101,, or 805-568-3510, prior to the close of public comment on June 19, 2023 at 5 pm. Please limit comments to environmental issues such as traffic, biology, noise, etc. Due to the non-complex nature of the project, a separate environmental hearing will not be held.

The YMCA plans will be in front of the Montecito Board of Architectural Review this week as well. 

The YMCA is located at 591 Santa Rosa Lane in Montecito. 


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