Westmont’s updated master plan is moving forward slowly. Consultants will complete a revised environmental impact report in February or March, and the community will have 45 days to consider and comment on it. After the review period, county staff prepare their final report and the Montecito Planning Commission considers the updated plan.
If the commission approves the update and no one appeals, the college will begin construction on two long-planned academic buildings: the David K. Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics and the Adams Center for the Visual Arts. If there is an appeal, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will make the final decision in late 2005, with groundbreaking following as soon as permits are issued.
The Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department determines the pace of progress. “We enjoy a positive working relationship with county personnel, and we appreciate the quality people assigned to our project,” says J. Clifton Lundberg, executive vice president. “The presence of opposition always causes delays, and this case is no exception.”
The lengthy process has yielded some positive benefits. “Westmont’s updated master plan is better and its legal foundation has become stronger,” Lundberg notes. “We have made changes that have resulted in a better plan. The update places buildings farther away from neighbors while screening them better, improves traffic circulation on campus, protects natural habitats and enhances fire safety.”
President Stan D. Gaede, Lundberg and other staff meet periodically with Montecito residents and opponents of the update to mediate as many concerns as possible.
“Please pray for this important project as we move through the approval process,” Lundberg says. “Local friends of the college will have several more opportunities to attend public hearings. It sends a critical message to the community and its elected officials when you fill a hearing room like you did at the EIR review in July. We are truly blessed to have your support.”