As vendors wrapped up their goods and stalls after Saturday’s Farmers Market, cones and tape were being set up to warn drivers not to park in regions that added up to about half of the Cota Commuter Lot.
These cones and tape were guarding the areas that would be used for the city’s soil test today, Mayor Cathy Murillo told the News-Press.
The soil testing will determine whether the soil is contaminated.
“Downtown, there’s been different types of activity,” said Ms. Murillo. These activities could affect the contamination levels of the soil.
The test is a part of the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires state and local agencies to identify the environmental impacts of their actions regarding projects and development. The development that may land in the Cota Commuter Lot is the new Santa Barbara Police headquarters, which voters approved in 2017 as part of Measure C.
“The current station’s too small,” said Ms. Murillo. “It’s not seismically fit. Our police force deserves good working conditions.”
Even if today’s soil test shows that the ground at the parking lot is contaminated, there could still be development on the lot where the Farmers Market takes place every Saturday.
Ms. Murillo said that contaminated soil could be cleaned up if the City Council decides to place the new station at the parking spot.
City leaders will review the soil testing at the parking lot on Sept. 17, Ms. Murillo said.
“That’s when we would initiate environmental review,” Ms. Murillo said.
One of candidates for the market’s relocation is De la Guerra Plaza about half-mile away. A relocation, however, would move the market from the venue it has been at for more than three decades. During the market Saturday, market goers were able to sign a petition to keep the Saturday Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market at the Cota Commuter Lot.