Downtown Organization of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce Collaborate to Form Community Benefit Improvement District
The Downtown Organization of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce are moving forward to improve the local economy and downtown sustainability through a Community Benefit Improvement District, commonly known as a CBID. An assessment district has long been a goal for concerned property owners and various organizations, because it is a best practice for a downtown metropolitan district to put this in place. Changes to the retail environment and the economic impacts of the pandemic, present an opportunity to thoughtfully form a district that will support the current and future needs of downtown.
Community Benefit Improvement Districts are property-based assessment districts for the purpose of funding increased maintenance and services that will benefit the defined area. Across the country, CBIDs have proven to be solutions for common metropolitan issues, resulting in increased vibrancy and long-term economic viability. Community Benefit Improvement Districts are a more modern way for urban districts to invest in and support themselves, offering additional legal authorities and benefits to its members.
Santa Barbara has recently seen the formation and CBID implementation when district stakeholders created a Community Benefit Improvement District for Coast Village. The Downtown Organization and the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce hired Marco Li Mandri of New City America, the same expert who prepared the management plan for the Coast Village CBID effort. Other city’s having success with the CBID model under the management of New City America are Little Italy San Diego, Downtown Chula Vista, and Downtown Glendale. Mr. Li Mandri will assist with the development of a CBID for Downtown and the Funk Zone. In addition to his work locally, his firm has set up 91 successful community benefit improvement districts both in California and across the U.S. over the past 24 years, receiving numerous awards.
An initial survey has been mailed to downtown property owners seeking feedback on the primary issues affecting the area and gauge the level of support for the proposed Community Benefit Improvement District. The proposed CBID would fund improvements and services over and above those currently provided by the City of Santa Barbara. With the results submitted from these returned surveys, we are hoping to better understand the type of special benefit services and improvements that are considered most important. The brief survey can be easily completed by visiting: https://newcityamerica.com/new-districts/ and clicking the Downtown Santa Barbara CBD Survey link. Surveys should be submitted no later than Thursday, November 17, 2022.
Outreach to property owners will begin immediately to assess interest and support for this project. Business owners are encouraged to work with property owners to share what they feel would be most beneficial for our community’s long-term success.
The first property owner outreach meeting will be held on November 10, 1:30-3 PM at Workzones (351 Paseo Nuevo, 2nd floor). Property owners can RSVP at this link.
Some of the key areas CBIDs support include addressing safety and the homeless population, maintaining sidewalk and street cleanliness, improving landscaping, installing decorative amenities like lighting and public art, promoting and protecting downtown's image, managing events and programming, and providing directional signs and services.
“Together we can build a thriving district we all can enjoy and return to today and for generations to come,” said Robin Elander, Executive Director of Downtown Santa Barbara. “We are in full support of this effort to bolster economic vitality for a thriving downtown for our business community,” added Kristen Miller, President and CEO of the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce.
Concurrently, the City of Santa Barbara has commenced the State Street Master Plan with oversight from the State Street Advisory Committee which both the Downtown Organization and the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce are also involved in. The State Street Master Plan is a long-term visioning document for the revitalization of downtown over the next 30 to 50 years that will lead to a capital improvement plan. The proposed Community Benefit Improvement District for downtown, if implemented, will create a funding source for enhanced services to the district as identified by the stakeholders of the CBID, which could be provided as early as 2024.
Current CBID Steering Committee
Co-Chairs: Peter Lewis, Developer; Janet Garufis, Monecito Bank & Trust
Members: Trey Pinner, Santa Barbara Property Group Inc.; Crosby Slaught, Investec; David de L'Arbre, Santa Barbara Travel; Matt LaBrie, Lynx Property Management; Warren Nocon, Hotel Californian/Foley Entertainment; Ron Robertson, Property Owner; Trevor Large, Fauver Large Archbald & Spray LLP; Geoffrey Carter, Miramar Group; Joe Corazza, Miramar Group; Mitchell Sjerven, Bouchon; Dan Burnham, Property Owner; Art Prado, Santa Barbara Paint Depot.
About Downtown Santa Barbara
Downtown Santa Barbara serves as the champion and advocate for the stakeholders of historic Downtown Santa Barbara, California, with more than 1400 members. It also manages the Downtown Santa Barbara Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), working to create a vibrant place for visitors, investors, and residents. For more information about our programs, events, and a directory of downtown businesses visit www.DowntownSB.org.
About Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce
The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria, is a regional, business organization with the mission to help South Coast businesses, residents, and visitors thrive. Through leadership and collaboration, the Chamber is the principal economic development entity advocating for the business community. The Chamber is proud to represent local business members who create 75,000 jobs on the South Coast! To learn more, visit sbscchamber.com.