Jameson Walking Trail

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   June 27, 2019
First District Supervisor Das Williams addresses a large crowd to mark the completion of the North Jameson walking path

On Sunday, June 23, over 100 members of the community gathered at the corner of San Ysidro Road and North Jameson Road for an official ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the new pedestrian pathway that was recently completed after a quick six weeks of construction. 

The project was a County-led road enhancement project following the 1/9 debris flow last year, spearheaded by Bucket Brigade co-founder Abe Powell and Montecito Trails board president Ashlee Mayfield. County Public Works, led by Chris Sneddon, added a curb on North Jameson, which was then filled with a 48” wide decomposed granite path, all located in the public right of way. “The easement has always been here and we’ve never capitalized on it until now,” Abe said to the crowd of adults, kids, and dogs. 

Because the path is considered a trail, and will be maintained by the Montecito Trails Foundation, it did not require ADA ramps, unlike the pathway that meanders along San Ysidro Road and cost over $200k to complete over a four-year period. This Jameson project cost about $60,000 to complete, with Montecito Community Foundation sponsoring a large portion of the project, and MTF giving $10K. Another section of the path is slated for Olive Mill Road from North Jameson to Casa Dorinda, which is expected to cost another $150,000. “The goal is to connect several walking trails so people can walk from the upper and lower villages, to Montecito Union School, and the beach, without safety being a concern,” said Mayfield.

After a short program by Powell, Supervisor Das Williams, and Montecito Community Foundation Board President Stephen Hicks, the group toasted with champagne and traversed the path to Coast Village Road with a reception at Khao Khang. Additional sponsors for the path include Montecito Association, Giffin Rental, Santa Barbara Garden Club, and Steve Hanson Landscaping. 

MPC Approves Follow-Up Net Permit 

Six months after receiving an emergency permit to install steel ring nets in three Montecito canyons, the Partnership for Resilient Communities was back in front of the Montecito Planning Commission last week seeking a development permit to replace the emergency permit and continue to allow for the installation of two more of the nets. “This is our final step in the emergency permitting process,” said planner Suzanne Elledge, who represents the TPRC.

The Partnership’s proposal to the County included a development plan for six of the 11 nets originally planned for – four have already been installed, two in Cold Springs and one each in San Ysidro and Buena Vista canyons – as well as inspections, maintenance, and debris removal from the nets if necessary. County staff reported that the project was reviewed for consistency with Montecito Community Plan policies including biological resources, water quality, recreation and trails, flood hazards, and visual resources, and is exempt from CEQA. 

The four steel ring nets were installed between April 5 and June 7, after TPRC fundraised $4.6M from over 400 community members and organizations. TPRC Executive Director and founder Pat McElroy told the MPC that installing the 5th and 6th nets, in San Ysidro and Buena Vista canyons, would cost $800,000, which the organization is still raising funds for. The group is also continuing to gain approvals for nets in Hot Springs canyon and Romero canyon from the Forest Service. The approval expires December 20, 2019; a new emergency permit may be granted at a later date. 

The motion passed unanimously, and following the vote Chair Charles Newman spoke to McElroy and TPRC. “There have been great expressions of approval for your efforts,” he said, referring to dozens of letters of support from the community. “I want to join in those and tell you that the appreciation is profound. I was a victim and what you are doing may help me in addition to our entire community. Your creativity, your engagement, your perseverance, and the efforts you’ve undertaken to make Montecito residents and their properties safer is enormous. You’ve potentially saved lives and property,” he said emotionally. 

For more information, visit www.partnershipsb.org.

Miramar Responds 

After much controversy surrounding a June 6 incident between several Montecito families seeking to utilize the beach in front of the Rosewood Miramar Resort, the California Coastal Commission sent a 10-page letter to Miramar owner Rick Caruso and Managing Director Sean Carney last week, demanding that the hotel immediately discontinue the use of security guards and the placement of ropes and stanchions on the sand.

The Coastal Commission letter, written by enforcement officer Tina Segura, states that the act of utilizing security guards and the consistent placement of rope barriers, discourages, if not precludes, public use of public land and effectively privatizes the public beach for the benefit of the hotel. “Providing hotel guests who can afford to pay $700+ per night exclusive use of the beach that legally may be used by the general public is inconsistent… with the Coastal Act because many members of the public visit the beach as a low-cost recreational activity but cannot afford to live at or near the coast…” the letter stated, citing the sections of the Coastal Act and threatening to fine the hotel up to $11,250 per day for up to five years.

“We immediately responded to the Coastal Commission’s letter, expressing our desire to work with the Commission and reach a full resolution,” said Carney when asked for a comment. “In the meantime, the hotel continues to welcome all members of the public to the hotel and in no way seeks to deter public access to the beach.” Carney’s letter stated that the Miramar shares the Coastal Commission’s view of the vital importance of maintaining public access to the beach and portions of the hotel. “Not only do we welcome the public onto the hotel property, but the hotel was specifically designed to encourage and enhance the public’s use of the Miramar property…” the letter stated. “From day one, our goal has been to enhance public access to the beach and our hotel. If anything we have done was inconsistent with that goal, we apologize.” 

As of press time, the heavy ropes and stanchions had been removed, and thinner, less imposing ropes were in place, designating the hotel’s service area for alcoholic beverages.


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