Officials will also discuss permanently closing blocks of State Street, developing master plan
On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council will discuss the abandoned shopping cart ordinance that was postponed from February.
The proposed ordinance, if adopted, would require: permanent identification on shopping carts in the city; loss prevention measures; employee training programs designed to prevent cart removal from business premises; mandatory retrieval within 24 if carts are removed; and subsequent penalties to cart owners for failure to identify or retrieve.
State law already makes it unlawful to remove a shopping cart from business premises or to possess it after it has been removed, so this ordinance won’t add any additional penalties for individuals unlawfully removing carts. Instead, it will focus on cart recovery and management.
Carts being used by individuals experiencing homelessness will be left alone. According to city officials, that will be a separate conversation.
In other business, the Parks and Recreation Department is asking for authorization to apply for an $8,500,000 grant for the Ortega Park Revitalization Project.
The project has already received preliminary design approval from the Architectural Board of Review and approval from the Parks and Recreation Commission. Environmental review is currently underway and Planning Commission consideration of the project is anticipated in spring of 2021.
Murals have been the main topic of conversation with the project, especially after a community webinar in November, where residents expressed concern with getting rid of any of the historic murals.
“Following public input from the community webinar, a mural evaluation report was prepared by an art conservator with input from the artists and community stakeholders,” the staff report reads. “This report, along with further community discussion, will refine the options for the preservation and integration of the murals into the revitalized park as well as opportunities to relocate and recreate the murals.”
Also on Tuesday, the council could potentially make some moves toward permanently closing State Street.
The State Street Subcommittee conducted outreach to the community as a whole, city advisory boards and commissions and State Street stakeholders to form a vision for a master plan to redesign downtown State Street and the surrounding area — from the freeway to Sola Street and Chapala to Anacapa Streets.
The subcommittee will recommend the City Council to do the following: adopt the State Street vision principles; initiate actions necessary to implement permanent closure of downtown State Street vehicles; initiate the process for the development of a master plan including identification of necessary staffing and resources; and establish a downtown State Street area master plan advisory committee.
The following will be considered in developing the master plan: streetscape design and amenities, transportation and circulation, housing and redevelopment influences, economic development, historic resources, equity and accessibility, homeless engagement, public art, operation and maintenance and a funding strategy.
To permanently close any part of the street, the council would need to pass a circulation element amendment, which requires environmental review, and would likely take more than a year to complete. Once the general plan is amended, then it will be discussed which blocks.
In developing the master plan, the subcommittee recommends procuring professional service contracts to prepare it, along with conducting traffic circulation and environmental studies. Members of the subcommittee also suggest implementing capital and operational funding mechanisms and staffing a new advisory committee.
In addition, an advisory committee consisting of 10 individuals is recommended: two council members, two planning commissioners, two historic landmarks commissioners, one downtown parking committee member, one Downtown Santa Barbara representative for business representation and one Property Owner Association representative (if created).
In addition, March 11 through 14 will be proclaimed “Love Your Neighbor Weekend.”
“The City of Santa Barbara recognizes that the United States of America is home to generations of immigrants from across the globe and their descendants, and that immigrants past, present, and future have always contributed to the social, cultural, economic, and educational vibrancy of Santa Barbara and our nation,” the proclamation reads.
The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, and can be viewed in English and Spanish on City TV Channel 18 or streamed live at www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/CAP.