What’s the Story With the Half-Finished Lot Next to the Montecito Country Mart?

What’s the story with the half-finished lot next to the Montecito Country Mart? Is it part of the shopping center? Is there any hope it’ll be developed at some point? —S.

An item in the April 8, 2015, issue of Montecito Journal explained that the lot used to be leased directly to Shell—which had a gas station there—rather than being part of the Montecito Country Mart’s 30-year ground lease. And at that time, it was undergoing environmental remediation: “Crews have been on-site on and off for the last three years, collecting soil samples from data-monitoring wells which were installed when the station was demolished. [Country Mart owner James] Rosenfield intended on taking control of the site once remediation was complete, with plans to turn the vacant lot into additional parking for the center.”

The lot has been available for parking for a while now, but it’s clearly in limbo. On one hand, there’s chain-link fencing, a storage unit or two, and rough asphalt, a sharp contrast to the spiffy retro adorability of the shopping center. On the other hand, the strip along the fire lane has a new-ish paved sidewalk and landscaping, which would presumably have to be torn up if the lot was integrated into the main site. More permanent parking would certainly be welcome, since the Country Mart lot, with its many pinch points, brings out the worst in local drivers.

After some pestering, I heard back from Country Mart owner James Rosenfield: “We are working on increasing the capacity and design of our lot.” If that’s not quite as expansive an answer as one might hope for, it’s better than nothing.

Got a burning question? Email [email protected] or text 917-209-6473 and I’ll do my best to get an answer.

Burning Questions:
••• Is the Bridge Over San Ysidro Creek Ever Going to Get Repaired?



Donna Richey

Has anyone thought to make it into a park like setting? People could have a place to eat and rest. You really can’t get all that much parking there to make a difference. In the upper village, Pierre La Fond has a great area for resting. The trees are so nice to sit under and have your lunch and then to continue to shop across the street. The space helps with the Coronavirus issue as you can socially distance while taking a break. It is so comforting. The street is right there (East Valley Road) yet you really don’t notice all that much as the grass and trees seem to buffer that corner.

C Larsen

Excellent comparison: The Pierre LaFond green space was also formerly a gas station (Union 76)


Nice idea but we need parking there-it’s a mess now – go to the beach to rest – it’s just right there!