At this month’s Montecito Association monthly board meeting, SB County Water Resources Deputy Director Tom Fayram reported on Montecito’s debris basins following the strong storms over the last several weeks. “We’ve been going full throttle since January,” Fayram said, adding that hundreds of trucks have been in Montecito clearing debris basins, sometimes 24 hours a day to prepare for back-to-back storms. The County has spent $3 million in debris removal from basins and downstream channels, with San Ysidro channel being the most difficult to clear out. “It has been an ongoing problem, and has had an endless supply of debris,” he said. The sifted debris was dropped at local beaches and other locations. “We intend to make a lot of the material we’ve taken out available to the public, for free, if residents need fill when they are rebuilding,” Fayram said.
Fayram also reported on the potential debris basin at Randall Road, outlining the environmental process that has been started. The County’s most significant challenge is financial, as eight properties would need to be purchased in order to build the debris basin. In addition to seeking FEMA grants, Fayram is working with neighbor Curtis Skene, who is spearheading private fundraising efforts. “I think this project has a real shot at happening. If we can get some significant help on the acquisition, we can build it,” Fayram said. The County is also researching a potential tax bond to help pay for the $25 million project.
During community reports, MUS superintendent Dr. Anthony Ranii reported that in an effort to keep students safe online, the school has installed special software that allows the happenings on kids’ screens to show up on the teachers’ screens. “This will be easier for teachers to monitor our students’ behavior,” he said. Dr. Ranii also reported that next week the school board will vote on two major facilities projects: a new roof and the north parking lot project, both of which will be funded by District reserves. “We very much believe we have to live within our means,” he said.
Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Lieutenant Butch Arnoldi reported on several residential burglaries over the past few months in Montecito: in January two burglaries took place on Hot Springs Road and Middle Road, where a substantial amount of jewelry and cash were stolen during an evacuation. Earlier this month Sheriff deputies responded to a home on Jelinda Drive, where a couple returning home in the evening came upon a burglary in progress, and approached the suspect. “I can’t stress enough that if something doesn’t look quite right, please call us immediately and do not confront intruders in your home,” he said. That suspect got away after stealing roughly $2,000 in cash and a large amount of jewelry.
Montecito Sanitary District general manager Diane Gabriel and Montecito Water District general manager Nick Turner reported that neither District sustained service issues during the recent rainstorms.
The Board is scheduled to meet again next month on Tuesday, April 9. For more information visit www.montecitoassociation.org.