Montecito Planning Commission

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   April 25, 2019

At a special hearing last week, the Montecito Planning Commission voted to approve a project to restore Hammond’s Meadow, a plan that is eight years in the making. “This is a very significant site and area,” said Pat Saley, who has been heavily involved in the project plans. 

Hammond’s Meadow is a 2.25-acre portion of a 3.82-acre County-owned parcel located next to the Sea Meadows subdivision, bordered by Eucalyptus Lane to the east, Montecito Shores to the west, and the ocean to the south. In 1985, as part of the Sea Meadows development, it was designated as an open public space; the site is part of the original Chumash settlement, and is considered a sacred site with archeological sensitivity. 

In 2014, the County entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Channel Islands Restoration, to formulate a plan for rehab of the site, which is currently infested with tall weeds and gophers. The project includes nonnative vegetation removal, gopher control, soil import and jute netting, erosion control, native planting, temporary irrigation for two years, and ongoing maintenance. The currently established monument, trail, and rock circle will remain. Because of the sensitivity of the site, a number of constraints exist including not being able to dig into the soil, bring heavy equipment on the property, or add a water source.

The project is expected to cost $700K, with funding expected to come from foundations, neighbors, and others. The hope is that the site will be self sustaining in five years, and that the access through the property to the beach will not change. Saley has been in coordination with County Parks Department, the Barbereno Chumash, the Sea Meadow HOA, and the California Indian Advisory Committee and has approval from all. Three public meetings on the project were held in 2018; two on site and one at County Parks office. Because there are not substantial changes from the original proposed project in the ‘eighties, the new restoration plan only requires an addendum. 

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