County Decides to Remove Santa

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County Decides To Remove Santa Daily Nexus > News > Volume 82, Issue Number 16 Debate Continues Over Possible Extraction of Local Highway 101 Landmark By Lana Burrows – Reporter Thursday October 11, 2001 As if the lack of snow on Santa Claus Lane in Carpenteria isn’t bad enough, the county has now decided to retire the jolly fat man himself from the rooftop. The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and businesses located on Santa Claus Lane have decided to change the street’s name and remove the Santa figure – which resides on the roof of a candy shop – by the end of this year because of the roof’s deterioration. However, a permit is still required before the Santa can be removed. Mary Lou Dodson, the current owner of Santa’s Candy Kitchen, said the 10,000-pound St. Nick has been on the candy store’s roof for the past 52 years. “At first I was neutral,” Dodson said. “But after learning that both Santa and the roof are rotting, I definitely don’t want him falling on my customers.” Greg Mohr, a Santa Barbara County planner, said plans for the street will be less seasonal and more practical. “Land owners and the county planners feel that a western seaside beach development that is more commercial would serve tourists and locals better,” Mohr said. According to Mohr, the county does not permit hotels and gas stations on Santa Claus Lane under the current plan. The new plan, C-1, would allow for the construction of hotels, gas stations, restaurants and coffee shops. Mohr said most of the business owners in the area agree it is time for a change. “With the new beach theme, businesses don’t want to move in because the Santa detracts from that theme,” Dodson said. “I feel it will make business better in general.” Padero Beach Grill owner Gene Archambault said he opposes the removal of the community icon. “[The Santa] has been a novelty for the children and the community,” he said. “And it’s a landmark; anyone who drives the 101 from Mexico to Canada knows the Santa and it’s a great reference point.” Santa Barbara County Planner Heather Baker said Santa’s future is uncertain. “A permit is still needed for Santa’s removal,” Baker said. “He will either be moved somewhere else on the lane, preserved in the same place, or not preserved at all. The general policy of protecting historical resources of the area is not specific enough to include the need to protect Santa.” Twenty-two year Santa Barbara resident Jamil Pearson said Santa Claus’ absence will affect locals. “This sucks! Santa Claus Lane has been a holiday tradition all my life; it just won’t be the same driving through Carpenteria,” he said. Baker said the controversy over St. Nick’s removal has incited locals to voice their opinions on a website, . The website includes the history of Santa Claus Lane, pictures and Santa Barbara County plans.

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