Save Our Solvang, Annexation Issue and following

Update as of June 5, 2019

To our Supporters,

Early last year you teamed up with Save Our Solvang to successfully stop a Sphere of Influence Study proposing annexation and development of key open space at our City’s entrance corridors.  After considerable research, we believe an Urban Growth Boundary is the best and only practical way to give Solvang citizens a vote in major growth and development decisions.

A UGB is a legal line that separates urban areas from the surrounding open space, agricultural lands and greenbelts.    The UGB often, but not always, coincides with the current city boundary and is usually for a specified time span of 20 to 30 years.  City annexation for development outside the UGB,  other than certain specified exceptions, requires a vote of approval by the city’s registered voters.  Planning for growth and development through annexation becomes a more collaborative process between city leaders and the citizens.

As we continue working together for the benefit of the community of Solvang will you please take a minute to give us some feedback by answering the following questions?  For more details on UGBs see the attached file.

1..Is it clear what an Urban Growth Boundary is and what it accomplishes?

2..If not, what questions or comments do you have?

3..Would you be interested in learning more about a UGB for Solvang and the process involved in establishing one here?

We look forward to hearing from you.  Please reply to

Thanks for your help.

Update as of March 24, 2019

Save Our Solvang is continuing to work for our city’s future.  Our goal is to develop an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) that is particularly suited to Solvang.  The plan is to have this issue on the November 3, 2020 ballot about 20 months from now.

We are currently analyzing other California cities’ UGB ordinances and developing an Election Timeline as part of this process.  We will be in touch soon about UGB details and ways we can all work together to get residents a vote on any future annexations to Solvang.

 Update as of September 16, 2018

Our presentation: PPT as presented Sept 10th

Update as of September 5, 2018    

Save Our Solvang will be making a presentation on Urban Growth Boundaries at Solvang City Council meeting Monday night, September 10th, 6:30 p.m.

After much research we feel that an Urban Growth Boundary would be the way to go for Solvang. It will assure that citizens can decide with their votes whether or not Solvang should proceed with any development proposed for land outside the city’s current boundaries.

Please come to this City Council meeting (1644 Oak Street, Solvang) to see the results of our research. We also want City Council to see how many people believe it is essential to have a resident vote whenever expansion and development of Solvang is proposed.

[By the way, our presentation is scheduled near the beginning of the meeting and is to be only ten minutes long.]

Thanks so much for caring about our city.

Update as of August 18, 2018

Just to let you know Save Our Solvang has not stopped in our efforts to gain a vote on development for Solvang citizens: We have been researching ways we can get a vote for our residents every time enlarging Solvang is contemplated.
We have decided that an “Urban Growth Boundary” would be the way to go. After looking at the 63 cities within California which have used this option, we think Cotati might be the closest to our own situation. You can check out the General Plan (Land Use section) for Cotati, California to get an idea of what we’re talking about.
We have been working on a presentation to give before the Solvang City Council to explain just what an Urban Growth Boundary entails and what it means. Last Monday we spoke at City Council and requested a time on the agenda to give our presentation. Mayor Richardson gave us ten minutes on September 10th. We hope you can join us for that meeting.

Update as of May 29, 2018

At the City Council meeting tonight the council was very willing to agree with our request to amend the two city goals with which we were concerned. They changed the wording to reflect only working on the “current” or “existing” Sphere of Influence and only considering “infill” development, rather than enlarging the city’s borders.

Ryan Toussaint also suggested the City explore the issue of an Urban Growth Boundary initiative.

Update as of April 24, 2018

The Solvang City Council had a workshop to prepare the city’s goals for fiscal year 2018-2019. We were concerned when the #1 goal was to increase the Sphere of Influence and seemingly pursue Annexation again. More than 30 people came to the meeting and 12 spoke, almost all expressing our apprehension and disappointment.
During the workshop it seemed like City Council members were tending to back away from the idea of enlarging the city and developing agricultural lands. We hope that continues to be true.
Please help us by attending the various city meetings throughout the months ahead. We will try to make sure we have someone representing our views at all City Council and Planning Commission meetings.
We should be seeing a list of the amended goals sometime before the next CC meeting.

Update as of April 23, 2018

The Sphere of Influence Study is rising from the dead!
Here is a link to the Solvang City Council Agenda for Goals Workshop and Regular City Council meeting, for April 23, 2018:
Please notice pages 17-19 for the list of proposed goals.
We feel it is important for all of us to attend the Workshop on City Goals by the Solvang City Council: Monday, April 23, 2018,  3:00 p.m. in council chambers, 1644 Oak Street.
You will notice that Goal #A-1 is “Address Future Growth Issues,” steps of which are listed as:
  •     Modify and update the General Plan to expand the Sphere of Influence
  •     Pursue a possible annexation study.
  •     Engage in public outreach for future visioning process
So the Sphere of Influence Study and Annexation have not been “killed” at all.
Also, Goal #C-1 includes “Augment the tourism industry with development.”
There will be opportunity for public input on these goals during the Public Comment at the beginning of this 3:00 p.m. meeting.  Goals are not on the agenda for the later 6:30 p.m. City Council meeting.
We do not believe that growth should be a goal;  instead it should be avoided if possible.

Update as of February 27, 2018

Last night at the Solvang City Council meeting the final vote was 5-0 against continuing the Sphere of Influence Study!  The mayor said those of us who had opposed the study had changed his mind from being 100% in support of it.

Update as of February 15, 2018

The Sphere of Influence / Annexation issue will come before Solvang City Council at the next meeting, Monday, February 26th , 6:30 p.m. 1644 Oak St., Solvang.

If you haven’t already written to Solvang City Council regarding the Sphere of Influence /Annexation issue please do so.  They want the letters to be submitted by the 20th to have them included in the Agenda Packet.  Please see the file at the end of this update if you would like some hints in writing your letters.

Mailing address is: Solvang City Council, 1644 Oak Street, Solvang, CA 93463

To email:

Mayor Jim Richardson:

Joan Jamieson:

Ryan Toussaint:

Neill Zimmerman:

Karen Waite:     

We hope that everyone will turn out to the meeting to make our opinions known.  It’s important to keep our faces before the council.  

See you on the 26th at 6:30 p.m., Solvang Municipal Center, 1644 Oak St., Solvang.

Letter writing hints

Update as of February 13, 2018

Several of us attended Solvang’s City Council meeting last night even though our issue was not on the agenda. We delivered the 673 signed petitions during the Public Speaking portion of the meeting.

Surprisingly, the council did address the Sphere of Influence / Annexation issue even though it wasn’t on the agenda.

We were also surprised that Mayor Richardson said he would definitely support the public’s right to vote on annexation! That would require that the City Council vote to make it happen, but we think saying it is a step in the right direction. We still don’t get to vote on the Sphere of Influence Study.

Joan Jamieson said she was opposed to any housing on Buellflat and felt that the SOI Study made a bad choice to propose that.

SOI/Annexation will be on the City Council agenda on February 26th and we’re hoping to have as many of our Save Our Solvang Supporters there as possible.

Update as of February 5, 2018

The February 5th meeting of the Solvang Planning Commission drew a large crowd of people opposed to annexation.  33 people chose to speak to the Commission!  The speakers were unanimously opposed to the annexation, with no one speaking in favor.

Commissioner Aaron Petersen actually advocated for NO development at all, but was told the measure could not advance to LAFCo unless there were changes to be made.

It was decided to send the study on to the City Council but with a hope that there would be public workshops put into the process so that residents could have a voice.

As of right now, the next time this will be on the agenda will be for Solvang City Council on February 26th.  We may also speak next Monday, the 12th.


Our Original Flyer, September 2017

Fellow Solvang Residents,

Many of you may have heard about efforts Solvang City Council has initiated to study  the annexation of 17 parcels of land to the City of Solvang.  These 450 acres added to Solvang’s current 1550 acres would be an increase of almost 30%.

There will be no public vote on this should the City decide to go ahead.  A small group consisting of City Council, Local Agency Formation Commission ( LAFCo) and the parcel owners will make the decision for all of us.   Solvang and other Santa Ynez Valley residents will have four public hearings and a few minutes each to let Council know how they feel.

Think about the consequences of these annexations.  To the west, Solvang’s new boundaries would reach across the hay fields, with a goal of adding a large sports complex plus industrial and commercial businesses along the already congested Highway 246.   To the northeast they envision housing developments surrounding Sunny Fields Park.

A group of Solvang residents have started an effort to forestall this move as we think it would only be to Solvang’s detriment to become larger. We hope to protect the small town ambiance and rural character of Solvang that is also a major goal of the SYV Community Plan.  Solvang should be made better, not bigger.

Solvang City Council has committed $46,000 to a Sphere of Influence Study to determine if annexation of these parcels is desirable and feasible. If the SOI comes back with a positive opinion on these questions the city would move ahead toward the eventual goal of formal annexation.

Several of us met with City Councilman Ryan Toussaint and Mayor Jim Richardson. Ryan ended up voting against the Sphere of Influence Study; Mayor Richardson voted for it.

We are reaching out to other Solvang residents asking you to join us in letting the City Council know we oppose undesirable growth for Solvang. Since we cannot vote on this process, the ways we can let City Council know how we feel are letters, emails, petitions, and attendance at the four public hearings.

[If you received this letter via postal mail, please let us have your email address so we can contact you more quickly. ]   Go to the Contact link from the main menu to email us.

Solvang Residents:  Susan Belloni, Barbara Bierig, Barbara Goldstein, Susan Bott, Candy Waldron, Linda  Smith