The land of the Santa Maria drive-in could be zoned for housing



On Wednesday, the Santa Maria Planning Commission will consider a request from People’s Self-Help Housing for a land use map change and zone change at an 8.89-acre site at 3170 Santa Maria Way, which houses the Hi-Way Drive In theater.

Fans of the Hi-Way Drive In Theater in Santa Maria might not get the happy ending they were hoping to see.

On Wednesday, the Santa Maria Planning Commission will consider a request from People’s Self-Help Housing for a general land use plan change and zone change at an 8.89-acre site at 3170 Santa Maria Way, which is home to theater.

The applicant, a non-profit organization, is requesting to change the commercial land use and zoning to a low and medium density residential land use designation and a PD / R-1 zone district, or planned development / single-family residential.

“With only the narrow street frontage, this place is essentially surrounded by properties with residential designations,” the staff report said. “The redevelopment of this flag-shaped parcel under the current commercial designation would result in an ‘island’ of commercial development surrounded by low and medium density residential uses.

“This configuration will likely increase the risk that commercial noise, lighting and odors will negatively impact adjacent residential users. “

The site has been home to a drive-in theater since 1959 and is the last operating drive-in theater in northern Santa Barbara County.

The Hi-Way Drive In home has been listed on online real estate sites as available for sale for $ 3.3 million.

Martin Indvik of Lee & Associates told Noozhawk on Friday that the property was in receivership.

Rumors of the impending sale and demise of the drive-in led fan Chris Weddle to create a Facebook page, Save The SM Hi-Way Drive-In, over a year ago.

He reaffirmed his support on Sunday.

“I understand that businesses and developers want to see the income of housing communities, which also gives work to these businesses, but this should not come at the expense of losing a special and rare family activity for this region, ”Weddle said. “I have too often heard that small towns have nothing to do, and this little town is slowly turning into a town with fewer and fewer activities of all kinds.

“I would like to see the city of Santa Maria embrace the emotions of our people rather than taking it all away just for more housing.”

People’s Self-Help Housing’s current application does not include requests for a provisional road map or a planned development permit, both of which are subject to future consideration by the city’s planning commission.

These would also be required and necessary to subdivide the property and develop it with single family residences.

“However, the environmental analysis of this proposed modification was based on the applicant’s conceptual plan for a single-family subdivision of 50 lots (49 units) to determine the impacts of the proposed land use and the change of zone” , indicates the staff report.

The other items on the committee’s agenda are:

  • A request from Boomers Parks to remove a kart track for children and install three rides at an amusement park.
  • A proposal from the Sunset Recycling Center for conditional use and planned development permits to establish a buyback recycling facility at 1465 S. Broadway.
  • Examination of a provisional parcel map to subdivide a 31.7 acre lot at 1955 South A St. into 20 lots.

Previously, this request included a concept of ‘workforce housing’, including an amendment to the specific zone 9 plan to introduce workforce housing as a permitted use and a permit. of development planned for 12 housing buildings for the workforce.

“Since that time, the applicant has decided to go ahead with only the provisional application of the track map while further work is underway to explore and refine the concept of workforce housing. “Says the staff report. “Therefore, future development on the newly created lots of this subdivision will be limited to the land uses authorized and conditionally authorized in the specific zone 9 plan.”

This land is designated for Planned Development / Light Manufacturing and Planned Development / Commercial / Professional Office) in the specific plan for Zone 9.

Any proposal for workforce housing in Zone 9 would require a specific plan change addressed in future public hearings notified by the Planning Commission and City Council, staff said.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the City Council Chamber at City Hall and will also be available through the city’s YouTube channel. The agenda can be viewed on

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