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SHIRLEY KIMBERLIN Everything I list turns to SOLD! 805-886-0228 DAVID JASKOLSKI INSURANCE AGENCY INC. CARPINTERIA/SB • 805.684.8808 • LIC# 0129684 WWW.FARMERSAGENT.COM/DJASKOLSKI Unpermitted greenhouse approved by county planners This week’s listings on the back page Time to shop By Lea Boyd In a 5-0 vote, the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission approved a zoning map amendment on Dec. 4 to legitimize an unpermitted 264,500-square-foot greenhouse located between Foothill Road and Via Real west of Carpinteria city limits. Owned by Rene and June Van Wingerden, the property on which the Ocean Breeze Nursery greenhouse sits is now one step closer to shedding its designation as part of the view corridor overlay, a small area delineated in 2004. Properties within the overlay must adhere to more stringent building restrictions as a means of preserving important public view corridors and minimizing fragmentation of remaining open field agriculture. The planning commission’s decision must be approved by the County Board of Supervisors and then the California Coastal Commission before the overlay is officially removed. The Van Wingerdens’ agent Bradley Miles said that the property was wrongly designated to begin with. Located on the periphery of the protected view corridor, the Van Wingerden-owned parcel was zoned into the overlay due to a clerical error caused by the use of assessors maps rather than survey maps, Miles argued. Total greenhouse square footage on the property, which includes several permitted structures as well as the unpermitted greenhouse, is 386,600 square feet, amounting to 65 percent of coverage on the 13.66-acre lot. The overlay restricts greenhouse coverage to 25 percent or less. County staff recommended the property’s removal from the overlay due to its minimal visibility from Foothill Road and Via Real and due to its position within a cluster of permitted greenhouses rather than fragmenting open space. Miles said that the Ocean Breeze greenhouse was constructed without permits due to the length of time required to wade through the bureaucracy of having its zoning righted. According to county records, the greenhouses appear to have been built in 2004. It is a case, Miles said, in which it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. The Van Wingerdens will be required to pay a development impact mitigation fee estimated to be $32,752 as well as penalties for building without a permit. The conditions for approval required by the commission, which include blackout screens for night time lighting, are all already in place, according to Miles. The greenhouse, he said, is a state of the art facility. Vera Bensen, a local open space advocate, spoke critically of the project at the planning commission meeting. She questioned how such a large structure could be built in a restricted area without the county finding out for several years. “There are probably many more,” she said of unpermitted greenhouses in Carpinteria Valley. DRE#01372868 MARKETING MATTERS BROADCAST TV STATION, 2ND UNIT PRODUCTION FACILITY INCOME, ASSETS & REAL ESTATE-TURN KEY (NV) NEAR (CA) PHOTO By EVELyN CERVANTES The dec. 7 clothing trunk show at Hummingbird boutique on Santa Claus Lanes puts a smile on Theresa Bryant’s face. Shoppers trailing Christmas lists swarmed into businesses throughout Carpinteria last weekend, and the town should remain busy with buyers through dec. 24. This weekend’s lineup of activities is long and varied. details can be found in Let’s Go on pages 10 and 11. More photos of last weekend’s festivities are on pages 26 and 27. Firefighter lawsuit claims misconduct by chief and district By Lea Boyd Three firefighters filed a lawsuit on Nov. 27 accusing Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District and its fire chief, Mike Mingee, of failing to act in the interest of firefighter safety and retaliating against the plaintiffs when they raised safety concerns. Christopher Blair, Han Domini and Michael Hayek claim that Mingee denied proper safety training, refused to purchase appropriate safety equipment, failed to provide promotional opportunities and referred to the three plaintiffs as “the cancer.” They accuse Mingee of altering a test score to prohibit the promotion of Domini and then firing Blair when he confronted the chief about the incident. Mingee, a third-generation fireman with 37 years of public service, denied wrongdoing and said that he “will not stand by and let mine or my family’s reputation be tarnished.” He lamented that the plaintiffs’ attorney “choses to drag me and this fine Fire District through the mud in an attempt to gain some type of a settlement.” Misconduct by Mingee, according to the plaintiffs’ allegations, began after Blair was hired by CSFPD on Jan. 1, 2012 as a battalion chief. Blair worked on the same shift as Domini and Hayek, both of whom are still employed by the district. All three served on the district’s Health and Safety Committee. According to the lawsuit, soon after Blair was hired, he began reporting concerns over unsafe workplace conditions and health and safety violations to the district and Mingee. Mingee failed to act on the concerns. He allegedly halted required physical fitness assessments and refused to act on findings that a particular employee lacked sufficient physical capabilities to complete the test. That employee was later injured. Numerous trainings, including water rescue and hose lay drills, were cancelled by Mingee, the suit claims, and necessary equipment such as wildland safety boots were denied the firefighters. LAWSUIT continued on page 6 Turning Your Dreams into an Address Maria Nova Seascape Realty “Selling Real Estate with Aloha” Eco-Broker • Realtor® • • 805.450.4712

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