Jul. 21—Four years after the Santa Maria City Council adopted its first district map of the city, officials are beginning the process of re-drawing those boundaries with a series of public hearing scheduled over the next eight months.
Under state election law, city and county governments are required to undertake a redistricting process every 10 years following the census to reflect local population changes.
This will be the city's first redistricting exercise after switching from an at-large to district-based election system in 2017 that led to the adoption of the city's current map of four election districts.
"The public hearings will provide an opportunity to share with the City Council how the district boundaries should be drawn to best represent the community," city spokesman Mark van de Kamp said.
The first redistricting public hearing will take place at 6 p.m. on Aug. 3 at Grogan Community Center, located at 1155 W. Rancho Verde. This will be the city's first in-person public hearing since last spring, following the return of community members to the City Council chambers on Tuesday after 16 months of pandemic-induced closure.
Another hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 7 at the Veterans Memorial Building, followed by two others in March 2022, according to van de Kamp.
While meeting participation will not be available over Zoom, recordings of each meeting will be posted afterwards to the city's website. Residents may submit public comments including suggested draft maps via email to email@example.com.
Current boundary lines start at the intersection of Broadway and Main streets in the city's center. District 1, the city's smallest district in land size, covers the city's northwestern quadrant from Blosser Road over to Railroad and down to Boone Street.
District 1 shares some portions of the northwest quadrant with District 2, which largely covers the northeast quadrant including the neighborhoods bordering State Route 166 and ending around the Santa Maria Town Center.
District 3 covers the southwest area of the city, reaching from the Santa Maria Public Airport to near Main Street at the west side of Broadway, and is the city's largest district distance-wise.
District 4, which covers the majority of the city's southeastern quadrant alongside District 2, stretches from the Orcutt border to the city's eastern limits past Marian Regional Medical Center and up to the Santa Maria River levee.
News and updates related to the city's redistricting process will be available via the redistricting page on the city's website at cityofsantamaria.org/redistricting.