Released: April 5, 1996


Goleta’s population of some 66,000 people makes it the largest unincorporated urban area in California. Over the last decade, Goleta has had limited representation on the county Planning Commission. The Grand Jury heard suggestions that a new Planning Commission specific to the Goleta area could be a way to improve local representation and participation in the Goleta planning process.


To examine the concept of forming a Goleta Area Planning Commission.


The Grand Jury examined several questions including: Would a Goleta Planning Commission be helpful in reducing the workload on the present Planning Commission? What would the cost impact be for the county? Would it increase a sense of local representation?

The Grand Jury interviewed a Santa Barbara County Planning Commissioner, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) executive director, the director of the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department, the Santa Barbara County Adminstrator, a representative of the County Counsel’s office, the executive director of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, pro- and anti-cityhood Goleta community activists, and a land use attorney who has represented various Goleta clients.

The Grand Jury recognizes that incorporation is an important issue for some Goletans, but the Grand Jury’s focus was on the concept of a Goleta Planning Commission.

For the purposes of this investigation, the Grand Jury assumed a general geographic planning area as described by the Goleta Community Plan.


California Government Code Section 65101(a) authorizes a legislative body (the Board of Supervisors) to “create one or more planning commissions which shall report directly to the legislative body.”

Testimony to the Grand Jury addressed issues of representation for Goleta, and was both in favor of and in opposition to the concept of a Goleta Planning Commission. Following are some of the issues identified through testimony to the Grand Jury:

FINDING 1: The Grand Jury determined there are sufficient reasons for the Board of Supervisors to explore the establishment of a Goleta area Planning Commission.

AFFECTED AGENCIES (California Penal Code Section 933c requires that comments to Grand Jury findings and recommendations be made in writing within 60 days by all affected agencies except governing bodies, which are allowed 90 days. The Grand Jury requires all responses be submitted on computer disk along with the printed response):