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Lobero Restoration Triggers ADA Compliance


A $5.2 million capital campaign to renovate the Lobero Theatre has reportedly hit a snag with the American Disabilities Act. The campaign entitled Encore: Lobero, which has raised nearly $3.5 million to date, has goals to: replace the 27-year-old seats, improve ventilation and heating, renovate the bathrooms and to create an Esplanade, pictured left. These renovations, which have already been approved by the Historic Landmarks Commission, recently triggered ADA issues. To become compliant, the renovations will now have to include: a better ramp along the side, a stairway to the front instead of the sloping bricks which are not compliant with ADA requirements for a ramp landing, handrails and seating walls. Many involved with the project are not happy about these new requirements. One person told Santa Barbara View, “it’s bureaucracy, liability, and architecture run amok.”

12 Responses to “Lobero Restoration Triggers ADA Compliance”

  1. ADA lover

    “One person told Santa Barbara View, “it’s bureaucracy, liability, and architecture run amok.””

    Or how about the right thing to do? The ADA is not there to be a pain in your privileged butt, but is there to protect people and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities by providing access to barrier-free structures. How about instead of complaining, show some empathy and take a stroll in a wheelchair or use a cane? You can never assume that you will never need these accessibility features, and if you do get to that point, God knows you will be the first one whining about lack of access.

  2. architoot

    If you don’t like it, blame it on GHW Bush (senior) who signed the ADA law. The rules are pretty cut and dried, so the requirement to conform shouldn’t have caught anyone by surprise.

  3. el_smurfo

    The “One person” should be upset with the project manager and architect, not the law. ADA may overreach in many cases, but it’s pretty clear what the requirements are, unlike much of our local planning nonsense.

  4. Anonymous

    Probably should be planning for ADA from the get go. Everyone deserves to have access to the arts.

  5. Another person

    No problem with ADA requirements, but there already is an accessibility ramp at the left of this historic building. And the existing original sloping brick front, which actually now allows for wheelchairs to be pushed up, is going to give way to a set of stairs, which means the front will now become inaccessible. And this state and city landmark will lose some of its unique quality that has existed for a long time, and already seems to be pretty accessible, from what I’ve observed, with lots of room for wheelchairs. And a friend has successfully taken her seeing-eye dog there as well.

  6. Anonymous

    Just don’t let the AB R get involved! Was backed up for 10 minute on state thanks to all the cars turning into chick filet

  7. Montecito Tex

    Why screw around with Jose’s Lobero? The bad seats are part of the charm. It’s old -and eclectic cool. No need for an esplanade whatever that is. Don’t need ping ping tables or state of the art facilities. Age looks good on people and especially good on historic art venues

  8. Anonymous

    HEY! ADA has to be over the top cause of centuries of discrimination !!!

    • The 1924 brick paved sloping entrance to the Lobero Theatre is a historical significant feature that is part of the charm of this gem of a George Washington Smith building. It is part and parcel of what makes this site unique.

      According to the architects for the Lobero rehabilitation, the initial project scope was to replace and improve the seating, add air conditioning and enlarge the restrooms. According to the Santa Barbara Building code and the ADA regulations, once a project crosses a threshold in terms of cost/scope, current accessibility upgrades are required. What has been deemed acceptable is a five-foot-wide ramp from the paseo that connects City Parking Lot 9 and Canon Perdido Street to the theater portico. A five-foot-wide level portico section in front of the columns is required. Currently,the brick slope starts at the base of the columns. Why a slightly steeper slope starting a the ADA required portico that retains the historic brick pavement wouldn’t work has not been fully explained. They are those who want a level terrace with seating as an entertainment venue, All the ADA requires is a pathway that allows a handicapped person access to the theater on his or her own be it with a wheelchair or a walker.