Montecito Planning Commission Meets

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   November 23, 2017

At this month’s Montecito Planning Commission (MPC) hearing, former commissioner Jack Overall was recognized for his decade of service on the commission; he stepped away from his post earlier this year and was named Montecito Association’s Citizen of the Year earlier this month. “Jack has given great service to the community of Montecito and the County,” First District supervisor Das Williams said, noting that Overall was vital to the governmental body, doing his homework on every item, and providing thoughtful points. “He is a great resource and leader, and an asset to this community,” he said. 

“It was a pleasure to serve on the commission, and I will continue to be involved,” said Overall, who – with his wife, Sherri – has lived in Montecito for more than 25 years and has been an active volunteer, philanthropist, and advocate. Former commissioners Michael Phillips and Bob Bierig were in attendance at the meeting, thanking Overall for his service. “Jack always saw the big issue first, and then he’d dig in deeper, keep at it, and work for a resolution that would benefit the community. We need more of that, and we are all beneficiaries of his efforts,” Phillips said. 

Also at the hearing, the commission voted to ask the board of supervisors to grant permit authority to the MPC over the ancillary projects related to the Highway 101 HOV project; roundabouts are planned at San Ysidro Road/North Jameson and Olive Mill/Coast Village Road. “If this were a baseball game, we’d be in the first inning,” said Public Works Alternative Transportation manager Matt Dobberteen, explaining that the projects still need to be designed and analyzed, as well as undergo environmental review and public comment. The MPC is asking that they be the governmental body representing the County, as the Olive Mill roundabout has joint jurisdiction between the County and the City, with the County having planning jurisdiction over the San Ysidro Road roundabout. 

The MPC also provided comments on the upcoming condominium project at 1062 Coast Village Road, which came before them for courtesy review only, as the project is located in City limits. The endeavor calls for the demolition of the current 14-unit apartment building, to be replaced with nine 3-bedroom, luxury condos with rooftop decks and private subterranean garages, as well as a commercial component that fronts Coast Village Road. Designed by architect Brian Cearnal, the building is slated to be finished in 2020. Neighbor Sascha Liebowitz, who has been following the project’s progress as it is directly next to her property, told the MPC: “All of this input is great, but it’s very clear that whatever gets built here is going to be built to the maximum allowable by law. Advisory input is going to be incredibly charmingly received by Mr. Cearnal and his team, and to some extent will be addressed if it doesn’t conflict with maximum profitability. I don’t want to make this project go on and on with advisory input with no teeth.” 

The commissioners voiced concern over the project’s massing, the setbacks, current tenant displacement, lack of meeting noticing, neighbor privacy concerns, story poles, the potential of the rooftop decks to be intrusive to the neighbors, ingress and egress on the site, trash pickup, parking, construction timing with roundabouts and the 101 widening, loss of trees, and neighborhood compatibility, among other items. They asked to see story poles erected on the site, and asked the applicant to go to Montecito Board of Architectural Review for comments on neighborhood compatibility and landscaping. “We are happy to go, but we do not want too many cooks in the kitchen,” Cearnal said.  

The project is expected to be at the City Planning Commission in the early spring. 


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