Jim Taylor: Downtown Open Space” is oxymoron

First published in the Coastal View on September 28, 2022.

By Jim Taylor, Carpinteria

Measure T’s proponents advocate “Save our Downtown Open Space.” Open space is important, and Carpinteria has done a decent job of preserving it, but “Downtown Open Space” is a bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

Measure T is Trouble, as shown by the confusion it has generated. One discussion on Nextdoor has generated 335 comments debating what it does. In fact, “Yes on T” invited us all to a meeting recently to “Clear up Confusion” over the measure. A ballot measure that confuses voters is problematic. It changes the zoning of a downtown parking lot from commercial to open space without changing its function. It would amend our zoning laws in ways that could have unintended consequences, have not been vetted by the Coastal Commission, and it does not have the support of our city attorney or the City Council. Then, to make any corrections, another election would be required. Not exactly an optimal town planning process.

But the question that Measure T avoids (and in fact prevents) asking is “Should there be a small hotel downtown by the train station?” This would normally be answered in public hearings, with testimony by professional staff, and citizens, and voted on by our elected officials. I say let’s have that debate, by voting down a troubled initiative.

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