New Housing Community Proposed Next to the Polo Fields

The agenda for this Wednesday’s meeting of the County Planning Commission includes a large new development called the Santa Barbara Polo Villas. As the name (sort of) indicates, it’s on an 11.48-acre lot directly west of the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria.

The proposal is to divide the land into 31 lots, for 40 residences: 25 single family dwellings (from 0.15 acre to 0.65 acre) around a pond, and 15 condominiums on a 1.58-acre lot (in the lower left of the layout below). All of the houses—a mix of one- and two-story, averaging 3,000 square feet—and nine of the condos are market-rate; six of the condos are “affordable.” Everything currently on the site will be demolished, including “10 apartments on the west side of Garrapata Creek, [and] horse corrals, three residences, and an accessory structure on the east side of Garrapata Creek.” And the proposed name for the private road is Polo Drive.

Take note of Lot 14, in the upper right corner (and shown in elevation below). That’s called the Estate: It’s substantially larger (~6,000 square feet) and has a pool and a “pool viewing deck” that’s presumably to watch polo matches.

The developer is 3250-3282 Via Real, LLC, with Neil Botts (of West Bluff Capital) as the named applicant, and the architect is Santa Barbara’s DesignARC. The style of both the condos and the houses is California farmhouse, and there are many more elevations along these lines in the full set of plans.

Condominium elevations:

And a cluster of houses:

Botts and company are asking for permission to build taller than 25 feet—I’m no expert in reading elevations, but most of the time it seems a couple of feet taller, with the exception of the Estate, which maxes out at 36 feet above existing grade. And they’d also like to erect “sound walls of up to 10 feet in height within the front setback along Via Real Avenue both east and west of Garrapata Creek. The walls will be concrete with stone veneer.”

While the sound walls would be to the detriment of Via Real, the project does include an upside for locals: “an eight-foot wide multi-use public trail easement consistent with the Toro Canyon Community Trails Plan.The easement would be located along the east side of the project site. The trail would exit the property at the north end of the site where it may one day connect with future trail easements pursuant to the Toro Canyon Community Master Trails Plan. The trail would be a natural surface material such as decomposed granite/gravel or dirt.” And the plan calls for a pretty split-rail fence on the non-creek side.

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