ANALYSIS: Do State Street Parklets Pose Safety Hazard?

A large fire truck travels up State Street.

Despite city staff’s recommendation, the Santa Barbara City Council may have balked on restricting the many parklets along State Street even though California law calls for a wider clearance between them to allow emergency equipment to get through. 

The council has pretty much delayed action on the issue with a new mayor who is a former restaurant owner. 

Many business owners on and around State Street are outraged that city staff did not get their opinions about the issue until right before it was sent before the city council Jan. 25. Even more interesting is why the city attorney or staff did not tell the council that state law requires a 20-foot clearance between the so-called parklets in front of restaurants and bars on the county’s most popular business corridor. Most clearances now are less than 15 feet. 

This all comes as more businesses close on State Street, including the Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant on the 1200 block, Embermill on the 1000 block, Chappa Poke on the 700 block and the Good Cup coffee shop on the 900 block. Also on the 1000 block of State Street, Lilac Patisserie is closed until next month. 

Sources say to expect more closures soon. If cruise ships resume visits in the spring, tourists may find some disappointments. 

Hospitality also has some changes. 

Hotel Indigo, a boutique hotel on the Santa Barbara beachfront, recently sold for more than $19 million.  

The Funk Zone hotel was brought on the market in late 2021 by Austin Herlihy and Chris Parker of Radius Commercial Real Estate. The 41-room hotel, 121 State St., was listed at almost $20 million. Other hotels have been sold while several more are in construction. 

Meanwhile, AWH Partners has acquired the Kimpton Goodland, a 158-room hotel near Santa Barbara. AWH will rebrand the hotel and manage it. Kimpton runs the Canary Hotel in downtown Santa Barbara. 

And, as extra added attraction, the first floor of the former Sears building in La Cumbre Plaza reportedly has been leased by Miss Daisy’s Consigment store from Goleta. The Sears building had been considered to be a site for housing or hospital use. 

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