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Height issue becomes a hurdle for new Santa Barbara Police station plan

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UPDATE: The Santa Barbara City Planning Commission supports a height exemption for the new proposed police headquarters. The issue goes back to the Architectural Board of Review for other design modifications.

(Previous Version) - If the proposal to build a new Santa Barbara Police headquarters is to ever get off the ground and reach a height of 53-feet, it will have to get the approval of the Santa Barbara Planning Commission.

That issue is before the commissioners today.

It comes up as an exemption request. Normally the limit is 45-feet in the area of the project's favored site, the corner of Cota St. at Santa Barbara St.

Some residents have asked for a delay while "story poles" made of wood are put up to show the public what that size would look like. If that happens it could have an impact on the Saturday morning Certified Farmers' Market.

The commissioners only have to rule on the height at this meeting. If that hurdle is cleared, the project will move forward and down the road, completed designs and other aspects of the project will return for a meeting discussion and vote.

The police headquarters on Figueroa Street was built in the 1950's and is called too small for today's staff, and seismically unsafe.

Funds to build the station are coming in through the voter approved Measure C sales tax.

The cost has been estimated at $80-million dollars.

The current plan is for a new three-story, 65,000 square foot station with the 53 foot height. Adjacent to it would be a 85,000 square foot parking structure at 37.5 feet in height.

The project consolidates police operations currently taking place in four different locations.

The plan would displace a commuter lot and the Saturday Farmers' Market. The city has said it would assist the market in a move, but that is not a requirement of the project.

The 1 p.m. meeting information and streaming link is at : Santa Barbara Planning Commission

Watch tonight on NewsChannel 3-12, KKFX Fox 11.

(More details, video and photos will be added here later today.)

Community / Crime / Lifestyle / Local Politics / Safety / Santa Barbara - South County
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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