Money and Business

Residents form group to oppose future expansion in Solvang

Residents form group to oppose future...

SOLVANG, Calif. - As the city of Solvang continues to investigate two areas for possible annexation, some residents are crying S.O.S -- Save Our Solvang.

The two proposed annexed areas, near Sunny Fields Park and along Highway 246 before you enter the city, could be the site of future business developments.

Now a group called Save Our Solvang says this report brings them hope that the potential project could go by the wayside for the city.

Susan Bott is a member of that group. 

"Both areas right now they're contemplating for annexation are agricultural right now and they're prime agriculture which means the land is best for farming and we think that's important," Bott said. "This is a farming area and that should be how it stays."

So far, the Save Our Solvang group has over 500 signatures on a petition they started because they say they don't have a vote in the matter. 

"I didn't want Solvang to become bigger or become urbanized and I wanted to keep it like it is," Bott said.

On Wednesday, an outside agency contracted by the city released a 63 page feasibility study.

It shows not only several environmental hazards involved with developing the space but also many parts of the city's codes would have to change in order for development to happen. 

This is good news for people like Bott. "Actually I feel it was really optimistic because they were saying that there really is a lot of reasons not to annex more land," she said. 

But for former Solvang City Council member Hans Duus, he believes the worrying over development could be premature.

"I think what's upsetting them is they're expecting this to happen right away with no input from the public. This will take years [and] a lot of meetings. We're just at the first little baby step of this," he explained.

Duus is confident the city will listen to what the community wants before making a decision about how to use the open space.

"There will be a lot of hearings about this, a lot of public workshops involved with this and it'll be a very transparent process," Duus said. 

 For those who are interested in speaking on this project, the city's planning commission is having a meeting on February 5th

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