The Santa Barbara City Council today will consider a staff recommendation to adopt a resolution designating the State Street Parkway between Mission Street and Constance Avenue as a city landmark.
The council will meet in chambers, 735 Anacapa St., starting at 2 p.m.
“State Street Parkway is worthy of joining the elite list of Landmarks, which are considered the most important resources contributing to the City’s unique historical and architectural repertoire,” staff said in their report. “There is sufficient evidence on record supporting the qualifications for Landmark status and for the adoption of a resolution designating it accordingly.”
Designation as a landmark confers honor and recognition on structures contributing to the city’s unique historical and architectural traditions, staff said.
The city’s Historic Landmarks Commission has the authority and duty to recommend that certain structures, natural features, sites or areas having historical, architectural, archaeological, cultural or aesthetic significance be designated a landmark.
The determining factors of a landmark designation are the importance of the resource to the community, the level of integrity of the resource, and its degree of rarity. Landmarks are often associated with an important architect and person in addition to being an important example of architecture, staff said.
The Upper East Association submitted a nomination for the State Street Parkway to be designated as a Landmark in June 2022. The HLC reviewed the nomination and determined that December that the resource qualifies for two of the five criteria to be a landmark.
“The State Street Parkway has been a cultural landscape for over 100 years, representing an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood that continues to provide beauty and greenspace to the City,” staff said. “Santa Barbara’s growth as a tree-filled, green city was due in large part to the philosophy of the City Beautiful Movement and the vision of many early planners and residents.”
The Parkway represents a period when the nation as a whole was beautifying cities and towns with parkways as part of the City Beautiful Movement, staff said.
“State Street Parkway embodies distinctive characteristics of the period in the early 20th century when Santa Barbara was purposefully beautifying the urban environment.
“Santa Barbara was fortunate to have one of the most noted authorities of the City Beautiful Movement, Charles Mulford Robinson, complete a report with suggestions for beautification of the City in 1909,” staff said.
“He recommended Santa Barbara install the State Street Parkway to give the street a stately effect for its the main vertebral avenue; however, it was not until 1917 that Santa Barbara installed the Parkway to soften, beautify and create green space to the six blocks of the newly developing residential portion of State Street, from Mission Street to Constance Avenue.”
In other business, staff recommends the council conduct a public hearing and consider appropriate protests to the renewal of the Downtown and Old Town Business Improvement Districts Assessments for 2023.
Staff also recommends the council adopt a resolution confirming the Fiscal Year 2023 assessment report for the districts and renewing their assessments for 2023.
The Downtown and Old Town business improvement districts have provided marketing and promotional services for downtown businesses for several decades. The merchants in both business improvement districts pay for these services through an assessment based on their business license fee, location and type of business.
The assessment revenue is collected each year by the city, then remitted to Downtown Santa Barbara. Downtown Santa Barbara operates both improvement districts after merging with the Old Town Merchants Association in 2005.
The Downtown Business Improvement District serves businesses between Chapala and Anacapa Streets, from Ortega Street north to Micheltorena Street.
The Old Town Improvement District serves businesses between Chapala and Anacapa streets, from Gutierrez Street north to Ortega Street.
For the calendar year of 2023, there are no proposed changes to the districts’ boundaries or assessment rates.
Prior to submission of this report, staff received 12 protests from a total of 1,225 businesses in the Downtown District and 246 in the Old Town District. At the public hearing, the council will confirm whether there is a lack of majority protest (protests received from business owners who pay 50% or more of the total assessments to be levied), and adopt a resolution to assess the rates in accordance with the annual report.
The Downtown and Old Town districts’ revenues are projected to be approximately $238,000 in business assessments to fund marketing and promotional activities for local businesses.