ICE Hosts Community Meeting on Santa Maria Holding Facility
Controversial project draws opposition from nearby property owners.
The Minami Center in Santa Maria is the site of an informational meeting being hosted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, mainly for residential property owners near the site of a proposed ICE holding facility on Depot Street near McCoy Lane.
The meeting at the Minami Center is part of a stepped up community outreach educational campaign by ICE to dispel rumor, myth and misinformation about the proposed holding facility including what it will be and what will not be.
ICE says the proposed 12,000 square foot facility will allow it to continue what its been doing in the area since 1996, processing dangerous and repeat convicted and undocumented criminals for deportation upon release from custody.
ICE says while there are temporary holding cells in the building, it is not a detention center and there will be no overnight accommodation.
There also will be no barbed wire around what would be a heavily secured building.
"Generally I don't think its compatible with our area", says Santa Maria City Planning Commissioner and local attorney Adrian Andrade who lives within 500 feet of the proposed ICE facility on Depot Street.
Andrade had to recuse himself from the Commission's recent controversial approval of the ICE project that drew thousands of people to the Santa Maria Fairpark.
Andrade says his "no" vote would not have changed the outcome of the Planning Commission's decision and he worries about adverse impacts the ICE project will have on local agriculture.
"I don't think its a professional office", Andrade says, "I think its more like a jail, and a jail in this zoning and in this area is wrong, its not compatible with the neighborhood."
Others who live in the nearby upscale Country Club estates neighborhood told Central Coast News off camera they have no problem with the facility being built where its already been approved.
Opponents of the proposed ICE holding facility have vowed to appeal its approval to the Santa Maria City Council.
As of Wednesday afternoon, no such appeal had been filed at City Hall.
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