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EDITION TIME ELECTION RETURNS

Goleta Cityhood Wins by a Wide Margin

November 07, 2001|JOHN JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Santa Barbara County voters in Goleta, the largest unincorporated urban area in California, decided Tuesday to form a city of their own.

By a margin of 58% to 42%, supporters overcame two previous failed attempts, this time drawing the boundaries of the proposed city to include areas where residents tended to favor incorporation. Critics say that will make it more difficult for the new city to survive.

The municipality will encompass about 30,000 of the estimated 80,000 residents of the Goleta Valley, adjacent to Santa Barbara on one side and UC Santa Barbara on the other. A little more than 6,500 votes were cast.

Those fighting for cityhood said it was time Goleta had its own voice in regional affairs. Advocates who favor a slow-growth approach were fearful the county could approve large new housing projects in the area. Supporters also said they think the area's high-tech sector, along with the newly opened Bacara Resort & Spa, will pay enough taxes to make the city fiscally sound.

Opponents said the rosy projections were based on economic conditions of the giddy late '90s, not the sobered 21st century.

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