Earlier this month, 94 property owners on Coast Village Road received a formal petition for the proposed Coast Village Community Benefit Improvement District (CBID), an idea brought forth by the Coast Village Association nearly two years ago. The goal of the CBID, which is funded by property owners as an additional property tax assessment, is to take control of the street’s aesthetics, safety, and marketing ventures, filling the gaps in service from the City of Santa Barbara, which governs Coast Village Road.
The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously voted to approve an enabling ordinance related to moving forward with the CBID in March 2021, and now there is a two-step process to work through, the first of which is in motion currently. This first step consists of a mail-in petition of landlords agreeing to have a formal plan submitted to the City for consideration and a subsequent ballot to landlords circulated. The properties on the street are weighted according to parcel size, frontage length, and building size. In order to meet the threshold of the petition, 30% or more of the weighted votes need to agree to move to the “ballot stage” of the process. At the ballot stage, 50%+1 of the weighted ballots returned will establish the district. Coast Village Association Board President Bob Ludwick, along with CVA Vice President Rob Miller and Board Members Trey Pinner, Rick Lemmo, Thorn Robertson, and Francois DeJohn, and property owner Jeff Harding have been working through the CBID process with the help of consultant New City America.
The expected assessments range from a few hundred dollars per year to $19,000 per year, with the average falling around $1,800. A summary of the CBID management plan was included with the petition. If all goes as planned, and the CBID is approved, the funds –which total about $300K the first year– will be used for private security to help with the unhoused population and panhandlers in the area; much needed beautification of the road, including tree and vegetation maintenance, maintenance of existing and new public spaces, improvement of decorative amenities like benches and fixtures, regular sidewalk and gutter sweeping and steam cleaning, enhanced trash services, timely graffiti removal, installation and maintenance of hanging plants, and planting flowers throughout the district; branding and promotion of the road; events such as Taste of Coast Village; social media and marketing; parking attendants; traffic management, and more.
Since its resurrection about six years ago, the Coast Village Association has worked to promote business along the street through social media campaigns and events, including the popular Taste of Coast Village in 2019 and the Virtual Cash Mob event at the beginning of the pandemic shutdown in 2020, in addition to annual holiday decorating contests, member mixers, and more. Ludwick describes the CBID as a way to ensure the continuance and extension of the CVA’s important work, which will greatly benefit the businesses as well as the property owners –and their property values– along the road. If the CBID is approved, the Coast Village Association Board will increase in size to accommodate more property owners, business owners, and community members, in order to manage the district and determine where the funds are spent. The assessment will have an initial term of five years. The Management Plan will be reviewed and approved by the City Council and City Attorney before it is implemented.
When the minimum 30% weighted petition threshold is reached, the City Council will consider adopting a “Resolution of Intent” to mail out ballots to all property owners in the proposed CBID. Ballots would be mailed to property owners in late April or early May and the ballots will be due to be returned by the public hearing, scheduled to be held by the end of June.