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Goleta, California

City of Goleta
General law city[1]
Aerial photo of the Goleta area from offshore.
Aerial photo of the Goleta area from offshore.
Official seal of City of Goleta
Nickname(s): The Good Land
Location in Santa Barbara County and the state of California
Location in Santa Barbara County and the state of California
City of Goleta is located in USA
City of Goleta
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
County Santa Barbara
Incorporated February 1, 2002[2]
 • Type Council–Manager[1]
 • Mayor Paula Perotte[3]
 • Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farr[4]
 • City council Roger S. Aceves[5]
Michael T. Bennett[6]
Tony Vallejo[7]
 • State legislators Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D)
Asm. Das Williams (D)
 • U. S. Rep. Lois Capps (D)[8]
 • Total 7.975 sq mi (20.654 km2)
 • Land 7.903 sq mi (20.467 km2)
 • Water 0.072 sq mi (0.187 km2)  0.90%
Elevation[10] 20 ft (6 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)[11]
 • Total 29,888
 • Estimate (2013)[11] 30,525
 • Density 3,700/sq mi (1,400/km2)
Time zone Pacific Time Zone (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes 93111, 93116–93118, 93160, 93199
Area code 805
FIPS code 06-30378
GNIS feature ID 1660687, 2015546
Website .org.cityofgoletawww

Goleta (; Spanish: , "schooner"[12]) is a city in southern Santa Barbara County, California, US. It was incorporated as a city in 2002, after a long period as the largest unincorporated, populated area in the county. As of the 2000 census, the Census-designated place (CDP) had a total population of 55,204, however, a significant portion of the census territory of 2000 did not incorporate into the new city. The population was 29,888 at the 2010 census.

It is known for being near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, although the CDP of Isla Vista is closer to the campus.


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • 19th and 20th centuries 1.2
    • Incorporation 1.3
  • Urban environment 2
  • Geography 3
  • Climate 4
  • Economy 5
    • Top employers 5.1
  • Demographics 6
    • 2010 6.1
    • 2000 6.2
  • Education 7
    • Schools 7.1
      • Elementary 7.1.1
      • Secondary 7.1.2
  • Government 8
  • Transportation 9
    • Major highways 9.1
    • Postal shooting 9.2
  • Notable people 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Early history

The area of present-day Goleta was populated for thousands of years by the native Chumash people. Locally they became known by the Spanish as Canaliños because they lived along the coast adjacent to the Channel Islands. One of the largest villages, S'axpilil, was north of the Goleta Slough, not far from the present-day Santa Barbara Airport.[13] The first European visitor to the Goleta area was the Spanish mariner Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who spent time around the Channel Islands in 1542, and died there in 1543. During the 1980s, discovery of some 16th-century cannon on the beach led to the advancement of a theory that Sir Francis Drake sailed into the Goleta Slough in 1579. Goleta is one of many alternative locations (and the one farthest south) proposed for Drake's "New Albion" - generally believed to be today's Drake's Bay, north of San Francisco.

In 1602, another sailing expedition, led by Sebastian Vizcaino, visited the California Coast. Vizcaino named the channel "Santa Barbara". Spanish ships associated with the Manila Galleon trade probably stopped in the area intermittently during the next 167 years, but no permanent settlements were established.

The first land expedition to California, led by Gaspar de Portolà, spent several days in the area in 1769, on its way to Monterey Bay, and spent the night of August 20 near a creek (possibly San Pedro Creek) to the north of the Goleta estuary. At that time, the estuary was a very large open-water lagoon that covered most of what is now the city of Goleta, and extended as far north as Lake Los Carneros (adjacent to Stow House).[14] There were at least five native towns in the area, the largest on an island in the middle of the lagoon. For that reason, expedition engineer Miguel Costanso called the group of towns "Pueblos de la Isla".[15] Some of the soldiers called the island town Mescaltitlan, after a similar Aztec island town in Mexico. Franciscan missionary Juan Crespi, who accompanied the expedition, gave the towns the name "Santa Margarita de Cortona".[16]

The island retained the name Mescalitan Island (dropping the extra Aztec "t") until it was bulldozed flat in 1941 to provide fill for the military airfield that is now Goleta airport. The Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Goleta Sanitary District is located on what used to be the island.[17]

Cabrillo Business Park, a business park in Goleta

Portola returned to San Diego by the same route in January of 1770, and mounted a second expedition to Monterey that year. A second Spanish expedition came to the Santa Barbara area of Alta California in 1774, led by Juan Bautista de Anza. De Anza returned the next year, and the road along the coast of Santa Barbara County (today's Hwy 1) soon became the El Camino Real, connecting the string of Spanish missions. An expedition in 1782, led by military governor Felipe de Neve, founded the Presidio of Santa Barbara and, soon thereafter, the Santa Barbara Mission. The Goleta area, along with most of the coastal areas of today's Santa Barbara County, was placed in the jurisdiction of the presidio and mission.

Sometime after the De Anza expeditions, a sailing ship ("goleta") was wrecked at the mouth of the lagoon, and remained visible for many years, giving the area its current name. After Mexico became independent of Spain in 1821, most of the former mission ranch lands were divided up into large grants. The Goleta area became part of two adjacent ranchos. To the east of today's Fairview Avenue was Rancho La Goleta, named for the shipwreck and granted to Daniel A. Hill, the first American resident of Santa Barbara. An 1840s diseño (claim map) of the rancho shows the wrecked ship.[18]

The parts of Goleta to the west of Fairview Avenue were in Rancho Dos Pueblos, granted in 1842 to Nicholas Den, son-in-law of Daniel Hill. Rancho Dos Pueblos included the lagoon, airport, UCSB and Isla Vista, extending to the west as far as the eastern boundary of today's El Capitan State Beach.

19th and 20th centuries

The Goleta Valley was a prominent lemon-growing region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was largely agricultural. Several areas, especially the Ellwood Mesa, were developed for oil and natural gas extraction. In the 1920s, aviation pioneers started using portions of the Goleta Slough that had silted-in due to agriculture to land and takeoff. As former tidelands, the title to these lands was unclear. Starting in 1940, boosters from the city of Santa Barbara lobbied and obtained federal funding and passed a bond measure to formally develop an airport on the Goleta Slough. The necessity for an airport – or at least a military airfield – became more apparent after a Japanese submarine shelled the Ellwood Oil Field in 1942. This was one of the few direct-fire attacks on the US mainland during WW II. The Marine Corps undertook completion of the airport and established Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara on the site of the current airport and University of California, Santa Barbara campus.[19] After the war, Goleta Valley residents supported the construction of Lake Cachuma, which provided water, enabling a housing boom and the establishment of research and aerospace firms in the area. In 1954, the University of California, Santa Barbara moved to part of the former Marine base. Along with the boom in aerospace, the character changed from rural-agricultural to high-tech. Goleta remains a center for high-tech firms, and a bedroom community for neighboring Santa Barbara.


Goleta was incorporated as a city in 2002 after several unsuccessful attempts. A significant urbanized area remains unincorporated between the town of Goleta and the city of Santa Barbara, largely consisting of the area which polled against incorporation prior to the 2002 election (this area was excluded from the city boundaries to facilitate approval of incorporation). There has been some discussion of annexation of this area (sometimes dubbed "Noleta") by the city of Santa Barbara.

Old Town Goleta, viewed from above looking west along Hollister Avenue; Santa Barbara Airport is top left.

In addition, the student community of Isla Vista directly to the south was excluded from the new city of Goleta. Whether or not to include Isla Vista was a subject of debate during incorporation planning, including Goleta residents concerned about impacts on tax revenue and the voting patterns of students.[20] A Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) report supported excluding Isla Vista because of differences in "community identity" but considered both including and excluding Isla Vista to be viable choices.[21] The 2000 census figures reflect the census-designated place of Goleta, which was somewhat larger than the incorporated city.

Urban environment

Goleta contains a mix of land uses, lacking only heavy industrial zones. North of the US 101 freeway is a region of predominantly tract housing built between the late 1950s and the 1970s, intermingled with newer condominium developments, a few gated communities, and adjacent to a lower-density residential zone in the lower foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains which contains larger homes. A commercial strip along Calle Real is one of the town's several business districts. South of the freeway is Old Town Goleta, centered on the stretch of Hollister Avenue between Fairview Avenue and the State Route 217 overpass; adjacent to this commercial area is a region of older, and occasionally substandard housing; some of the south county's least affluent people live in this zone. Between Old Town Goleta and the airport, and running along south Fairview Avenue, are some light industrial zones, some of relatively few in southern Santa Barbara County. Farther west, near the intersection of Storke Road and Hollister Avenue, is a large shopping mall, including "big box" stores, which draws business from outside the local area. This area is called the Camino Real Marketplace. There are also several business parks including Cabrillo Business Park, Fairview Business Center and the area along Castilian Drive. Adjacent to the mall and extending more than a mile to the west is a residential area, most of the housing in which dates back to the 1960s; it includes some high-density apartment blocks which accept some of the overflow student population from nearby UCSB.

Goleta has several significant parks, including Stow Park, Lake Los Carneros, and the Coronado Butterfly Preserve[22] providing street access to the Ellwood Mesa Open Space[23] on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean with beach access from UCSB.[24] Goleta Beach County Park is just outside of the city limits.[25]


Detail of a Monarch Butterfly cluster at Ellwood Mesa Open Space

Goleta is about 8 miles (13 km) west of the city of Santa Barbara, along the coast (the coast runs east to west in this portion of southern California). Nearby is the Santa Barbara campus of the University of California and the student community of Isla Vista.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 26.4 square miles (68 km2), of which 26.3 square miles (68 km2) are land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.38%) is water.

Monarch butterflies spend the winter in several eucalyptus groves on the Ellwood Mesa. [26]


Goleta has a mild climate with high temperatures normally within ten degrees of 70° year-round; low temperatures rarely fall below 40°. However, Goleta experienced one of the highest temperatures ever recorded in the United States. The city's geography at the base of the Santa Ynez Mountains sometimes subjects Goleta to sudden hot winds locally called "sundowners", similar to the Santa Ana winds in the Los Angeles and San Diego regions. They are caused by high pressure drawing dry air from the inland side of the mountains, whereupon they can become superheated as they rush down on the city's side. On June 17, 1859, a related wind – a superheated simoon –passed through the Goleta and Santa Barbara area, raising the temperature to 133 degrees Fahrenheit (56 degrees Celsius) in minutes. People were forced to take shelter immediately; according to a report of the U.S. Coast Survey, animals died in the fields and fruit dropped from trees.[27] It was the highest temperature recorded in the United States until 1913, when a 134°F was reached at Death Valley.


The University of California Santa Barbara is the major center of economic activity in the area, both directly and through the numerous associated service industry activities which exist for the staff and students. Hispanic Business has its corporate headquarters in Goleta.[28]

Deckers Outdoor Corporation is based in Goleta. It is the parent company for UGG Australia, Teva, Sanuk, Ahnu and Hoka One One. Several technology sector businesses operate in the area due to the proximity to the university, including Raytheon, Citrix Online, Cisco, FLIR, ATK, InTouch, and Transphorm.

The Bacara Resort also employs many residents.

Top employers

As of 2012, the top employers in the city were:[29]

# Employer # of Employees Employment % to Total Population
1 Raytheon 1,400 4.68%
2 Sansum Clinic 1,100 3.68%
3 Bacara Resorts 620 2.07%
4 Goleta Unified School District 565 1.89%
4 Citrix Online 544 1.82%
5 Yardi Systems 445 1.49%
6 FLIR 425 1.42%
7 Allergan (Inamed) 352 1.18%
8 Goleta Cottage Hospital 350 1.17%
9 Karl Storz Imaging 342 1.14%
10 Medtronic 250 0.84%
11 Jordano's 240 0.80%
12 Mentor Corp 218 0.73%
13 Network Hardware Resale 210 0.70%
14 Costco 200 0.67%
15 The Home Depot 178 0.59%



The 2010 United States Census[32] reported that Goleta had a population of 29,888. The population density was 3,747.9 people per square mile (1,447.1/km²). The racial makeup of Goleta was 20,833 (69.7%) White, 469 (1.6%) African American, 283 (0.9%) Native American, 2,728 (9.1%) Asian, 26 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 4,182 (14.0%) from other races, and 1,367 (4.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9,824 persons (32.9%).

The Census reported that 29,687 people (99.3% of the population) lived in households, 23 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 178 (0.6%) were institutionalized.

There were 10,903 households, out of which 3,416 (31.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 5,265 (48.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,069 (9.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 472 (4.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 659 (6.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 88 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,732 households (25.1%) were made up of individuals and 1,090 (10.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72. There were 6,806 families (62.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.23.

The population was spread out with 6,335 people (21.2%) under the age of 18, 3,790 people (12.7%) aged 18 to 24, 7,966 people (26.7%) aged 25 to 44, 7,749 people (25.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 4,048 people (13.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.5 years. For every 100 females there were 101.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.

There were 11,473 housing units at an average density of 1,438.7 per square mile (555.5/km²), of which 5,844 (53.6%) were owner-occupied, and 5,059 (46.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.5%. 16,222 people (54.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 13,465 people (45.1%) lived in rental housing units.


Demographic data for 2000 is for the Goleta CDP, the Goleta Valley area, and not just the half that is the City of Goleta.

As of the census[33] of 2000, there were 55,204 people, 19,954 households, and 13,468 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,102.1 people per square mile (811.7/km²). There were 20,442 housing units at an average density of 778.4 per square mile (300.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 78.61% White, 1.27% African American, 0.82% Native American, 6.43% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 9.23% from other races, and 3.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.33% of the population.

There were 19,954 households out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.1% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.5% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $60,314, and the median income for a family was $67,956 (these figures had risen to $69,242 and $81,862 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[34]). Males had a median income of $44,770 versus $32,127 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $28,890. About 2.9% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.


Most local students attend schools in the Goleta Union School District and the Santa Barbara High School District. There are also a host of smaller private schools.[35]



  • Brandon School (within City of Goleta)
  • El Camino School
  • Ellwood School (within City of Goleta)
  • Foothill School
  • Hollister School
  • Isla Vista School
  • Kellogg School (within City of Goleta)
  • La Patera School (within City of Goleta)
  • Mountain View School[36]
  • Goleta Family School[37]



The five City Council members take turns as mayor. The City Council also serves as the Planning Agency. City Council, Planning Commission and Design Review Board meetings are televised on the local Government-access television (GATV) channel and available on the City's website.


Several Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District bus lines run through the city.[39] The main artery of the city is US 101, with the major streets being Hollister Avenue and Cathedral Oaks Road. Other significant streets include Calle Real (which is broken into sections), Storke Road/Glen Annie Road, Los Carneros Road, Fairview Avenue, and Patterson Avenue.[40]

Intercity transit is provided by Amtrak at the Goleta Amtrak Station.

Santa Barbara Airport is adjacent to the City of Goleta, near the intersection of Hollister and South Fairview avenues. The airport serves the greater Santa Barbara area with five airlines connecting to larger hubs.

Major highways

Postal shooting

On January 30, 2006, Jennifer San Marco shot and killed seven people, including six postal workers, before committing suicide at the postal-processing facility where she had been previously employed. In addition to Charlotte Colton, 44, and Beverly Graham, 54, the dead included Ze Fairchild, 37, and Maleka Higgins, 28, both of Santa Barbara; Nicola Grant, 42, and Guadalupe Swartz, 52, both of Lompoc; and Dexter Shannon, 57, of Oxnard. This incident is believed to be the deadliest workplace shooting ever carried out in the United States by a woman.[41][42]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "General Information". City of Goleta. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of  
  3. ^ "Paula Perotte". City of Goleta. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Jim Farr". City of Goleta. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Roger S. Aceves". City of Goleta. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Michael T. Bennett". City of Goleta. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Tony Vallejo". City of Goleta. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "California's 24th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California".  
  10. ^ "Goleta".  
  11. ^ a b "Goleta (city) QuickFacts".  
  12. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 139. 
  13. ^ "". 
  14. ^ A 1782 Spanish map of the lagoon overlaid on a modern map
  15. ^ Portola Expedition Diaries
  16. ^ Bolton, Herbert E. (1927). Fray Juan Crespi: Missionary Explorer on the Pacific Coast, 1769-1774. HathiTrust Digital Library. pp. 166–169. Retrieved April 2014. 
  17. ^ Goleta Sanitary District
  18. ^ Rancho La Goleta diseño
  19. ^ Ruhge, Justin (April 1, 2011) "A History of Goleta Valley, California" Goleta Today Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce
  20. ^ Dougherty, Alison (December 7, 2000). "Meeting To Review Possible City Boundaries for Goleta". The Daily Nexus (Santa Barbara County, California). Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  21. ^ Dougherty, Alison (May 2, 2001). "LAFCO To Vote on Proposed I.V. Inclusion in Goleta Plan". The Daily Nexus (Santa Barbara County, California). Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  22. ^ Coronado Butterfly Preserve
  23. ^ City of Goleta - Ellwood Mesa Open Space
  24. ^ UCSB Ellwood Open Space and Habitat Management Plan
  25. ^ "Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce". 
  26. ^ "Goleta Butterfly Grove" City of Goleta Accessed 7 February 2015
  27. ^ Tompkins, Walker A. (1975). Santa Barbara, Past and Present. Santa Barbara, California: Tecolote Books. p. 50. 
  28. ^ "Contact Us." Hispanic Business. Retrieved on February 7, 2012. "Hispanic Business Inc. 475 Pine Avenue Santa Barbara, CA 93117-3709"
  29. ^ "City of Goleta Comprehensive Annual Financial Report". 
  30. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  32. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Goleta city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  33. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  34. ^ US Census Fact Sheet for Goleta
  35. ^ "Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce". 
  36. ^ "List of GUSD Schools". 
  37. ^ "Goleta Family School". 
  38. ^ "List of SBSD and SBHSD Schools". 
  39. ^ "". 
  40. ^ "Google Maps". 
  41. ^ "Seven dead in California postal shooting". CNN. 2006-01-31. 
  42. ^ "US ex-postal employee kills six". BBC. 2006-01-31. 
  43. ^ "Danny Duffy Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Dos Pueblos High Gives Katy Perry a Welcome Homecoming". Noozhawk, Santa Barbara and Goleta. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 

External links

  • Official website
  • City map showing current boundaries
  • City of Goleta's Capital Improvement Project website
  • City of Goleta's San Jose Creek Project website
  • City of Goleta's Monarch Butterfly Grove website
  • Goleta Chamber Of Commerce website
  • Goleta Union School District website
  • Movies and televisions shows filmed in Goleta
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