Roundabout Design Review
Next Monday, August 12, the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review (ABR) and Montecito Board of Architectural Review (MBAR) will hold a joint hearing to review the design of the Coast Village Road/Olive Mill Roundabout; members of the community are encouraged to attend to see the proposed plans and share their thoughts or concerns.
The hearing comes nearly five years after the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) directed planning staff to move forward on three local projects to be considered as part of the widening of Highway 101: a roundabout at Olive Mill and Coast Village Road, mitigation of the railroad bridge at the Cabrillo Blvd underpass – which will include a two-lane roadway, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian paths with a roundabout at the intersection of Cabrillo and Los Patos Way – and assessment of traffic solutions at the San Ysidro Road freeway entrances/exits, which eventually evolved into a roundabout at the juncture of San Ysidro Road and North Jameson. SBCAG has been working closely with staff from both the City of Santa Barbara and County of Santa Barbara to continue progress on these projects; plans for the Coast Village Road roundabout were submitted earlier this year. The schedule for the San Ysidro roundabout has yet to be determined.
The roundabout at Olive Mill and Coast Village Road will include entrances and exits for Olive Mill, Coast Village Road, North Jameson Lane, and Highway 101. The project will require both Design Review approval and Planning Commission approval from both the City and the County since the intersection is bifurcated between the two jurisdictions. Because there will need to be a cohesive plan for the intersection, the City and County are joining together for a joint Design Review hearing, and later will also have a joint Planning Commission hearing.
The project includes reconfiguring the intersection from a stop-controlled, 5-way intersection to a single lane roundabout, and includes adding sidewalks, landscaping, lighting, and directional crosswalks. Coast Village Association’s Beatification Committee has been working closely with the City and County on the aesthetics of the Coast Village Road roundabout, including native and drought-tolerant landscaping.
The Montecito Association Land Use Committee discussed the Coast Village Road and San Ysidro Road roundabouts at a meeting on Tuesday, and outlined the process by which neighbors and residents can contribute to the design of the projects. A neighbor to the project, whose property is on Olive Mill, reported to the Land Use Committee that the project will encroach on his property as well as two commercial properties on Coast Village Road; the plans have not yet been presented to the Montecito Association. The Association plans on holding a community forum on the issue in September.
The Design Review Hearing is on Monday, August 12, at the David Gephardt Hearing Room at 630 Garden Street downtown, at 3 pm. To view the submitted plans, visit http://services.santabarbaraca.gov/Files/Community_Development/Olive Mill Roundabout Plans 8-12-19 Design Review Set.pdf.
A) (Trent, use the image from page 3 of the PDF): The roundabout slated for Coast Village Road and Olive Mill Road will be in front of a joint hearing between the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review and the Montecito Board of Architectural Review on Monday, August 12
Montecito Water District Quarterly Update
Last week Montecito Water District released a second quarter update on several of the District’s initiatives and important topics.
Water Supply Outlook: A Stage 1 Water Shortage Emergency Condition remains in effect and it is expected to take several consecutive years of above-average rainfall for water supplies to fully recover from the cumulative impacts of the historic seven-year drought. Hydrologic conditions did improve significantly with the 2018/19 rainy season and MWD projects sufficient water supplies to meet demands over the three-year planning period (thru 2021). With the improved water supply, MWD has been able to pay back some of the water debt incurred during the drought, save some water in its groundwater banking program, and end the meter moratorium.
Rates: A rate study is in progress. One of the District’s objectives with the new rate setting process is to accommodate ongoing water shortage emergency costs and to eliminate the current water shortage emergency surcharge. The rate study will not be completed until the District has definitive costs on new initiatives for water supply reliability such as the pending Water Supply Agreement (Desal negotiations) with the City of Santa Barbara – more on that below. Public noticing and public comment are an integral part of implementing new initiatives, including the rate structure, and MWD will continue to provide information on the process in coming months as the timeline progresses. Rates have not increased since 2016; in 2013 the Board adopted a five-year schedule of rate increases, then voted not to implement the final incremental increase in 2017.
Facilities: MWD reported no damages to facilities from the recent earthquakes. MWD is prepared for Southern California Edison’s potential planned power outages and these will not affect water service. All critical District facilities are equipped with emergency backup power, which is used during power outages to provide uninterrupted service to our customers.
Capital Improvements: The Water Availability Charge (WAC), a vital revenue component of MWD’s capital improvement program, continues without change – as it has since its inception in 1996. MWD’s July 23, 2019 public hearing and ultimate adoption of a resolution to continue the WAC is an annual requirement under California Water Code, and is separate and distinct from the ongoing rate study. This parcel assessment of approximately $30 per acre supplies the District with an estimated $300,000 annually for the replacement of vulnerable, aging, and undersized water mains to improve the reliability of the District’s distribution system. Upcoming projects include the Santa Rosa Lane Main Replacement.
Groundwater: The Montecito Groundwater Basin benefitted from a 2018-19 winter of above-average rainfall yet remains well below “full” aquifer conditions, according to data collected for the Semi-Annual Groundwater Monitoring Program Report. Separately, the Montecito Groundwater Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) has begun holding regular quarterly meetings. More information can be found at www.montecitowater.com/sgma. Well owners and other interested parties are encouraged to get involved and can sign up for the GSA email updates online or by calling (805) 969-2271.
Desalination: MWD and the City of Santa Barbara approved proposed terms of a Water Supply Agreement earlier this year, and are in the process of finalizing some additional terms and drafting a 50-year contract. The Water Supply Agreement is targeted to be ready for review later this year, and will be made available for public comment prior to being voted on by the governing bodies of both agencies.
Recycled Water and Water Reuse: MWD continues to move forward with the top project recommended by the Recycled Water Facilities Plan, which is non-potable reuse (NPR – irrigation only) for large irrigation users with the option of indirect potable reuse (IPR – groundwater injection) pending a hydrogeological investigation of the Montecito Groundwater Basin.
Questions circulating in the press and community have expressed concern regarding targeted end-users and project costs. The District wishes to express that water reuse benefits the entire community by extending drinking water supplies, enhancing water supply reliability, and reducing reliance on imported water supplies. Different costs are largely associated with different values for the end results. For example: With NPR, every gallon of recycled water used for irrigation results in a gallon of drinking water that can be saved for potable uses – the gain is an offset. With IPR, every gallon of recycled water could ultimately be used for drinking water thereby adding to the District’s potable supply.
A Groundwater Augmentation Feasibility Analysis is underway to determine if the Montecito Groundwater Basin can receive injection of water, and results are anticipated before the end of the year. Whether NPR, IPR, or a combination of the two, the project is targeted to use wastewater collected and treated by Montecito Sanitary District. The Water and Sanitary Districts are collaborating to determine the best approach to water reuse for the community, and a public joint committee meeting including staff and two directors from each District is being held monthly.
For further information on any of the topics above please call (805) 969-2271 or visit the web site at www.montecitowater.com.