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Development ideas for Buellton city property at 480 Central Ave. should include a parking lot, the City Council has decided.

Originally, City Manager Marc Bierdzinski gave council members several options including a community garden, mixed use of multi-family residential and office/retail, multi-family residential, a community Center or a public parking lot.

“I think we could probably cut it down to the family residential and the parking. Do we all agree on that?” Mayor Holly Sierra asked during Thursday's meeting.

Councilman Ed Andrisek said he felt that parking was the best idea because the city would be able to generate money and it would benefit tourism.

“I’m just saying if we knew we were going to have some revenue rather than giving it to someone that we don’t know what’s ever going to happen with it,” Andrisek said.

Sierra asked if the city could write the land off as a gift if it donated it to Santa Barbara County. She brought up the possibility of having the land turned into low-income housing by the county Housing Authority.

Councilman David King said the .26-acre property, which would only allow for four units, wouldn’t make a dent in the 80 or so individuals looking for housing.

“I don’t think that the taxpayers of this town would be happy about taking a bath for $380,000 for a piece of property that we donate to someone,” King said.

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Councilman Art Mercado said the parking lots could also be used for sporting events to provide an added source of revenue.

“I think long term, the viability of it, I would lean towards parking,” Mercado said. “I understand all the social implications that we have here, but we’re also looking at a big cost of what people want to do and as the time comes where we do have a developer who wants to do that project with us then we have something to offer them.”

King agreed with Mercado, adding that if Avenue of Flags is developed and there was a big event held, parking would fill up quickly.

“It’s just asphalt,” King said. “So down the road if we develop that piece of property, all you’re pulling up is asphalt and not tearing down buildings."

Bierdzinski said he would bring cost estimates back to the council.

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