MarBorg Industries is closer to building a 3,151-square-foot storage facility at 2 S Quarantina Street after the Santa Barbara City Council denied an appeal challenging the project’s coastal development permit Tuesday night.
Discussions were contentious as Guy Dolev, who works a block over, directed council members to look at all of MarBorg’s nearby operations.
Natasha Todorovic presented Mr. Dolev’s case for an appeal. She referred to 2 S Quarantina Street as the “closet” whereas the neighborhood is a house, implying all the parcels work together.
“The interdependencies between these different businesses, and the fact that all of this is owned by the same family with common interest is what brings this all together,” she said.
She presented photographs of dust filling the air above the block, concerned about air pollution.
General Counsel for MarBorg Industries Robert Forouzandeh called the allegations “blatantly false.”
“Mr. Dolev has been waging this battle, this war for the last five years on anybody who is doing industrial use in that neighborhood,” he said.
Counsel was already well-acquainted with the appellant and had a slide prepared with an image of Mr. Dolev’s office building.
Mr. Dolev complained that MarBorg does not adequately provide parking for its employees. Then, other workers in the area struggle to find a place to park.
The project adds seven new parking spaces. (Six new spaces are mandated by code.)
Mr. Forouzandeh showed photos of empty spaces outside of Mr. Dolev’s building as well as other blocks in the area. But some public commenters think the images are deceiving.
“I have feared for my life twice now because I have to park so far from my office,” Melissa Ginzel said. “None of you know what it’s like to work on Quarantina Street.”
The area is between two homeless shelters, leading to a higher concentration of homeless individuals.
“We’re talking about a city that is dependent upon tourism… And literally in the middle of everything, we have a garbage dump. We also have multiple homeless shelters,” Evan Stanfield, a neighboring business owner said.
“Look, we need MarBorg; we need trash clean up; we need all that stuff,” he said. “We don’t need it behind one of the most popular resorts in Santa Barbara, right next to the Funk Zone, right next to the family fun park.”
The current lot is unsightly, bare with uneven utility poles. The new development will allow for better drainage, buried utilities and won’t obstruct sightlines.
Portable restrooms, soap, trucks and other equipment will be stored on-site, but cleaning and processing occurs in another facility.
“This project is so suited for that parcel it’s unbelievable we’re at this point today,” Greg Marek, owner of a neighboring multi-tenant property, said.
Members of City Council did not seem excited to deny the appeal, therefore keeping MarBorg’s plan approved.
Council was only allowed to make its decision based on the project at hand.
“We’ve all been in this difficult position where our neighbors are not going to like this particular project, but the project has met all the requirements,” Councilmember Alejandra Gutierrez said. “It is very difficult to tell someone who owns a piece of land what they can’t do if they’ve met all the city requirements.”
She acknowledged the area has “a lot of issues.”
Mayor Pro Tempore Oscar Gutierrez, who designated that he was receiving unsolicited text messages from the appellant, also recognized the neighborhood’s problems.
“MarBorg’s been there for 100 years and even before they started their business there, the area was known as the city’s dumping ground.,” he said. “I’ve gone face to face with each one of (the business owners) and told them that’s not a good place to run their business, and they ask me then where?”
The parcel is located in a light manufacturing zone.
The Architectural Board of Review turned away the project’s initial drawings and approved a design in June of 2020.