Downtown Design Workshop Saturday to address heart of Santa Paula

February 22, 2017
Santa Paula News

Stakeholders were interviewed in December and on Saturday the Downtown Design/Improvement Workshop will be held where the community will be asked to give their input into what they would like to see in the heart of Santa Paula.

The February 25 workshop will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, 970 E. Ventura St.

Residents are encouraged to drop in anytime to view concepts for the improvement of the historic Downtown. In addition, those attending the workshop will be asked to vote for their favorite concept.

The workshop is just the latest of a years’ long effort to tackle the Downtown, famed for appearing as a backdrop for numerous movies, television shows and commercials. 

The Downtown and its mostly wood buildings was burned to the ground in the early days of the last century and by 1905 rebuilt better than before. The bustling business district started to wane in the 1950s when the oil industry left the area; also contributing to its decline was changing shopping habits as outlets for major department stores closed and consumers were drawn to malls. Economic downturns also hit the Downtown, home to Mom and Pop businesses, hard.

The Santa Paula Downtown Merchants Association and the Chamber of Commerce have been holding talks with the city for quite a while centered on code enforcement, cleanliness and crime.

In 2011, the Downtown was the focus of a San Luis Obispo Cal Poly student Design Team who spent months visiting the city and garnering input on the Downtown. In 2012 they presented the results of their survey and recommendations for the future.

The Downtown became a focus of the General Plan update late last year.

According to the city website, “The General Plan is the fundamental policy document of the City of Santa Paula, providing the framework for managing the city’s physical and economic resources now and in the future. A general plan acts as the ‘constitution’ for making rational decisions regarding a city’s long-term physical development. The general plan expresses the community’s development goals and incorporates public policies relative to the distribution of future public and private land uses. California law requires that each city adopt a general plan for the physical development of the city and any land outside its boundaries which bears relation to its planning.”

Typically, the General Plan is designed to address the issues facing the city for the next 20 to 25 years.

Santa Paula’s General Plan was last updated on a comprehensive basis in 1998, and “A lot has changed over the past two decades. The General Plan Update is a process of clarifying, articulating and integrating the City’s intentions and policies with the rights and expectations of the community; including residents, property owners, and businesses.”

The updated General Plan will be used as a blueprint for land-use choices, conservation and development of new housing, environmental resource protection, allocation of fiscal resources, population growth, expansion of city boundaries and safeguarding from natural and manmade hazards.

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