• Looking Forward: A 2040 Vision for Santa Maria

    The City of Santa Maria will begin a comprehensive update of its General Plan in 2020.  This document, which serves as the “master plan” for the city, seeks to define how the community wants to accommodate anticipated growth over a 20-30 year window and describes what current residents and leaders hope the city looks like at that time.

    The Chamber of Commerce expects to play a significant role in shaping the policies and solutions contained within the general plan. We will build on our mission elements of being a champion for a better Santa Maria and convener of leaders and influencers to ensure that voice of businesses and their employees are included in the plan, ensuring continued economic vitality for our community.

    As we kick off this process, we wanted to get a very early sense of what challenges our businesses want us to be thinking about and working on in the new year. We reached out to some of our board members and partners and asked, “What is the one major challenge you think business owners should work on now to ensure Santa Maria in 2040 is a dynamic and successful community?” A few of their responses follow.
    “Santa Maria business owners should currently focus on providing future growth opportunities to ensure a dynamic and successful community in 2040. This includes providing developable property to attract businesses and build new reasonably priced housing. Along with this comes planning for adequate infrastructure including roads, water, power, broadband and cultural resources.  Support for schools and other educational opportunities are obviously a key to a successful community.  If we want to keep our youth in the area and maintain a vibrant community with a high quality of life, we must provide superior education, work opportunities, affordable living and an attractive cultural environment.”
    Danny Deveraux, CalPortland Construction
    “Local businesses and corporations would be wise to invest in the nonprofit organizations throughout Santa Maria Valley … (particularly those that) build employability skills in our younger generations.”
    Jeremy L. Deming, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast

    “The one major challenge I think business owners should work on now to ensure Santa Maria in 2040 is a dynamic and successful community is to identify an area of the City where businesses can startup, develop and continue to grow without re-locating and sacrificing community connection, location and resources.”
    Butch Lopez, V. Lopez Jr. & Sons G.E.C, Inc.

    “I think as business owners, we should do our best to not become stale or dull in our customer’s eyes. Keeping the community engaged and interested in our town will require businesses to work hard to be interesting, relevant and fresh.”
    Emily Kitts, Naughty Oak Brewing Company

    Other key themes and issues that came up included the following: 

    • Flights from our airport to L.A., SFO, maybe Sacramento, and/or another major hub
    • Higher-end beds and more high-end restaurants
    • Regulations and well-planned growth/expansion
    • Promoting local business ownership and operation
    • A well-educated workforce, with an emphasis on four-year college degree options