Montecito, CA: Who has experience with their planning department?

Asked by Jeff, 90068 Thu Apr 17, 2008

I've heard it's full of fanatics who treat every homeowner like they are both filthy wealthy and insensitive to their own community. In fact, I want to be a good neighbor. I want to follow all the rules and pay what I'm supposed to pay. I'm a good guy...yet, I cannot afford to go broke paying for multi-year delays and outrageously high costs just because some other people are problems. I suppose I need specific, real experience from people in Montecito....although maybe you've faced your own version of this, elsewhere. Let's help each other, because I have some solutions, too.

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Nicole, Home Buyer, 93101
Mon Apr 21, 2008
I would recommend hiring an experienced land use agent or architect who has processed a number of projects in Montecito specifically. If the agent/architect has an overly emotional or negative view of the planning department it means they lack the knowledge necessary to get your project through efficiently. You can also go to the zoning counter before even starting your project and get free information regarding your property and any constraints it may have. If they are busy on a particular day, go back when there is more time and you can get a lot of good information. Also, submit for architectural review early and beware of changing your project mid-process because it will require much more $ and time. If a zoning requirement seems unfair, ask to see the ordinance language stating the requirement. Also remember that being persistent, polite and responsive will never hurt you.
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