King points out popular community events in 2023, cites areas of focus for 2024
By Dave King
As the year of 2023 comes to an end, the City of Buellton can look back at several great events. A local company bought the property where the bowling alley was planning to go in, so stand by for that.
As many of you have heard, the proposed In-N-Out Burger was denied by the City Council due to concerns over traffic congestion at the US 101 and McMurray intersection. However, we are hoping they will come back to the table with a better location.
Several other events this year included Fall Fest on Avenue of Flags, and Cowboy Christmas and the Festival of Lights at Riverview Park. It was a great time for everyone that attended. All of these will be an annual event. Hope to see you there next year.
The city has several areas of focus for 2024 to implement its community vision. They are highlighted below, in no particular order:
Quality of life enhancement for Buellton’s residents: This will take the form of maintenance and improvement of existing infrastructure, such as the city’s water, wastewater, and road systems, as well as existing parks and public facilities. Actions will be taken to improve these facilities where possible, and protect them from being overburdened where improvement is not possible.
Additional enhancements will be found in the relocation of the Buellton Public Library to the former Willemsen House, the opening of the Santa Ynez Valley Childrens’ Museum on the Willemsen property, the opening of the Buellton Community Garden at the corner of 2nd Street and Central Avenue, and the expansion of the Senior Center programming into the current library building. The city will also pursue the construction of the Santa Ynez Valley River Trail, and will strive to facilitate the development of additional youth-serving uses, such as a bowling alley, community aquatic facility, and possible sport field facilities joint venture.
Renewed push for economic development: Construction projects are anticipated in 2024 that will begin the revitalization of Avenue of Flags, bringing new business opportunities and renewed investment in the city. These efforts will be built upon by reconvening the city’s Economic Development Task Force to engage the existing business community and prospective developers and investors in discussions to implement Buellton’s long-standing vision that sees the city as the economic engine of the Santa Ynez Valley.
Enhancement of transparency and efficiency of city government operations: With the forced adoption of councilmember election by districts in 2022, the City Council will be looking at changes to norms and procedures of the City Council, Planning Commission, city staff, and other city functions to ensure that residents within the various districts receive adequate representation, while ensuring that decisions are made from a “whole city” point-of-view rather than a parochial perspective which pits the interests of each district against the others.
Continued focus on improving public safety: The city will continue to seek approval of physical infrastructure improvements to enhance traffic safety on city roadways, including Highway 246. A multi-pronged approach emphasizing vehicular, cyclist, and pedestrian safety will be pursued with Caltrans to provide safe passage for non-motor-vehicle users of Highway 246, while maintaining the capacity of the roadway to accommodate anticipated traffic volumes. Additionally, the city will be reviewing alternative service models to enhance the traffic enforcement function within the city, with a particular focus on vehicular speeds on Highway 246, with a primary goal being the reinstatement of regular traffic enforcement patrols by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff or, if unable to obtain such service from the sheriff, from the California Highway Patrol.