SANTA BARBARA — An Architectural Board of Review member has left his post after controversy regarding the local Chick-Fil-A project. In a letter dated August 21 to Mayor Helene Schneider, Keith Rivera apologized for his decision for abstaining to vote for minor changes to the plans of the already approved restaurant. The controversy started last month when the fast food restaurant got into the media spotlight. “The national media picked up on the comments of the CEO of Chick-Fil-A in support of traditional marriage, then that ruffled the feathers I guess of some of the folks here,” said Santa Barbara City Councilmember Frank Hotchkiss. In the resignation letter, Rivera said he couldn’t be objective during the ABR vote for the landscaping modifications. Rivera was one of the three board members who cited political reasons to not cast a vote. That didn’t sit well with Hotchkiss. “The minute I heard it I thought this isn’t going to fly. And it’s not like sort of not good, it’s just wrong,” he said. The city councilman called for the board members to resign and is glad to hear of Rivera’s decision. “He did that and I admire him for it and thank him for it.”In the letter, Rivera said,” I agree with members of the community, City Council and design profession that personal beliefs have no part in the evaluation of a design review application.” On Thursday afternoon, construction crews continued to work and remodel the inside of the former Burger King building where the Chick-Fil-A is slated to go. The changes the board abstained from voting on were approved by city staff.
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