Last week, Carpinteria’s Coastal View News reported that a developer has big plans for a 27.53-acre site (5669 and 5885 Carpinteria Avenue) on the Carpinteria bluffs: “roughly 7 acres of organic farm; a hotel with a 59-room lodge, 34 bungalows and six cabins; 16 residential units located in a single building; open space and trails; and a restaurant, event space and farm stand designed to serve the community.” The topic was discussed this past Wednesday by a special meeting of the City Council, Planning Commission, and Architectural Review Board. I didn’t learn of the matter far enough in advance to warn you about it—I need to get the CVN in my news rotation—and I didn’t attend the meeting because this matter will take years to resolve. As the folks trying to open the Surfliner Inn downtown can tell you, Carpinterians are not known for embracing change.
The site is east of Casitas Pass Road, nestled against the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve, and it’s currently occupied by the Tee Time driving range and farmland, with an undeveloped part between the railroad tracks and the bluff’s edge.
The developer is Matt Cooper of the Post Group in L.A., who is behind a number of mixed-use projects there; the architect is not named. The top-line description and the concept review presentation are worth a look (and both are quoted from in this post).
Some highlights include renderings of the “5,150-square-foot main building which will house the lobby and reception area, as well as a library, retail, an indoor/outdoor café/bar, mini theatre, hotel administrative offices, restrooms, and a 1,000-square-foot exterior deck that provides outdoor seating and access to other areas of the Property.”
“Hotel amenities will include a wellness area and pool facilities. The pool area will feature a pool, hot tub, 10-seat pool bar, bathrooms, changing rooms and lounge area for approximately 60 guests with a 1,500-square-foot building. These facilities will extend off the rear portion of the hotel’s main building. Wellness amenities include a 1,900-square-foot building gym and approximately 3,150-square-foot building of wellness facilities which will include a reception area, juice bar, treatment rooms, restrooms, saunas and steam rooms.”
As for the hotel accommodations, “Hotel rooms will be dispersed through low-rise lodges, bungalows, and cabins as follows: Lodges (59 keys total with approximately 23,580 square feet of floor area); Bungalows (34 single-story keys total with approximately 22,400 square feet of floor area); Cabins (6 single-story keys total with approximately 3,200 square feet of floor area).” Perhaps in an effort to make the the two-story “lodges” look smaller, we get elevations in lieu of full renderings:
The developer would like to add “16 workforce housing units to provide housing for on-site team members, along with the Carpinteria workforce community,” but also provided 32- and 48-unit options (all three are sited up against the Carpinteria Avenue border).
And there’s also a farm: “The Project will prominently feature a regenerative farm. Project plans call for approximately six of farmland and ancillary structures to include a farm office, garage/workshop, storage and distribution area, delivery and receiving area, compost area, and farm yard. Farm uses will be located on the northern portion of the Property with the actual farm land fronting Carpinteria Avenue. Ancillary farm structures will be placed along the northwestern Property boundary. The Project anticipates that an approximately 1,700-square-foot farm maintenance will be provided.”
While this all sounds like a lot, buildings make up only a small percentage of the development: “Of the existing 27.53 acres, 20 acres will be for open space including native habitat restoration, public trails, and an organic farm. Another 5.93 acres will be for ground-level hardscape including walkways, terraces, driveways and parking all on permeable surfaces. The remaining 1.6 acres will be used for the hotel, restaurant, event barn, farm operations and residential spaces with sustainable design practices.”
One of the places the developer compares this project to is Babylonstoren in South Africa, where I had the good fortune to stay a few years ago. Carp would be lucky to have such an elegant addition—we’ll have to wait and see whether this meets that high standard. I’ll do my best to keep an eye on the project via Coastal View News and the Carpinteria Bluffs organization.
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