Board of Supervisors Seeks to Buy Private Land
During closed session at the SB Board of Supervisors hearing last week, the BOS voted unanimously to begin negotiations with homeowners on Randall Road in hopes of buying seven properties (plus one on East Valley Road) to build a new debris basin where the multimillion dollar homes were once located.
The short road, which ends at the southern perimeter of La Casa de Maria, suffered catastrophic damage during the January 9 debris flow when San Ysidro Creek to the east overflowed, killing four people in the immediate area of Randall, East Valley Road, and Glen Oaks, and demolishing over a dozen homes. The County is seeking $19 million in FEMA grant money to purchase the property, agreeing to match $6 million in County funds to make the purchase happen. The negotiations have already begun, despite not having a clear answer from FEMA regarding the grant money. “We will have to work with a non-profit partner to acquire the land and build this,” said First District supervisor Das Williams, who believes building a debris basin there will help reduce the damage of future debris flow.
The decision from FEMA regarding the grant money is expected in the spring; the County is also asking for $5.6 million to expand three existing debris basins elsewhere in Montecito.