Mission Canyon Association

Botanic Garden Renews Push for Expansion Approval

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden's expansion plans, suspended in 2002, have now been submitted for EIR (Environmental Impact Review). The Garden's acquisition of the Cavalli property -- 13 acres more or less - will be folded into the Garden and a new Conditional Use Permit issued. The issues involve -- traffic, intensity of use, the size and scale of new buildings (the plans call for 20 new structures totaling 35,357 sq.ft. for a net increase of 28,326 sq.ft. of building area). But perhaps most important, these plans mark a watershed transition from the serene gardens of Beatrix Farrand, to the new institutional complex proposed by Dr. Edward Schneider. There will be future public hearings to discuss the outcomes of the EIR.

Tim Steele and fellow Board members examine
early versions of the Garden's expansion plans

Click here to see current Botanical Garden Vital Plan

Click here for link to Scoping Document, EIR Results, and Project Status. Review this link, SB Newsroom Article, to get a good overview by the SB Newsroom.

Click here for a link to the website for Friends of Mission Canyon.org, a local advocacy group who is closely monitoring the SBBG EIR process.
DEIR inconsistencies document.
DEIR comments and suggestions.

The Mission Canyon Association presented comments asking for clarification of the intended use of the garden for private parties and special events, and expressing additional concerns to be included in the review. Click here to see that letter.

The association is very concerned about recent development activities at the Botanic Garden that have been occurring while the Garden's development plans are under Environmental Review. Presumably, development is "frozen" while the Environmental Impact Report is in preparation and successive Substantial Conformity Determinations are inappropriate. Such as:

1. Extensive installation of new chain link fencing.
2. Removal of multiple full-growth oak trees.
3. Remodeling of the existing book store.
4. Acquisition of 1100 Tunnel Rd. (1 acre)
5. Acquisition of the Van Schaik property. (10 acres)
6. The meeting with the SB County BAR for conceptual review Feb. 23.
click here for copy of SBBAR minutes

The Association is seeking an open dialogue with the Botanic Garden and their Mission Canyon neighbors on this project, as well as restraint by SBBG from commencing work prior to completion of the EIR and issuing a new CUP (Conditional Use Permit).

The Botanic Garden is appealing the Historic Landmarks Advisory Commission's action with respect to the development of the Meadow Terrace. SB BAR review of the project currently projected for 11/2, Board of Supervisors hearing of appeal on 11/16. Below are documents related to the Meadow Terrace discussion.

Time line on Meadow Terrace issue
HLAC minutes of SBBG site visit
HLAC agenda for hearing
Planning Commission Staff Report
Attachments to PCSR
Letter from HLAC Commissioner Sue Adams
Letter from Charles Birnbaum, founder and president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation
SBBG lawyer's appeal letter