Channel Drive Path Complete
Last month work was completed on the walking path on Channel Drive, making it safer and more traversable. Paid for by Measure A funds, the path was cleaned up, resealed, and filled with decomposed granite; the work was contracted by the County, according to Deputy Director of Transportation Chris Sneddon.
Carpinteria Valley Farms owner Pat Nesbitt will be back in front of the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission in November, after three of four present planning commissioners moved to deny his application for a helistop on his 19-acre property at a hearing last week. The move requires that County staff make the appropriate findings for denial and present them to the Commission at a future meeting, which is currently scheduled for November 7.
According to the staff report, Nesbitt, who originally sought permission for two landing pads on his property, had modified the request to one, seeking permission to land his private helicopter on an existing 10-acre grass field on his property, from the hours of 7 am to 7 pm; the original request was until 9 pm. The helicopters would take the ocean route as opposed to the mountain route in order to avoid any potential disturbance to residences along the mountain route. Mr. Nesbitt has previously said that he wants the helistop in order to shorten his travel time when he goes to L.A. for work purposes. “It’s 35 minutes by helicopter from my property to my office in Santa Monica,” Mr. Nesbitt said at last month’s Montecito Association meeting, adding that flying in and out of the Santa Barbara Airport would triple his travel time given the congestion on the southbound freeway from Goleta to Carpinteria during specific times of the day.
Dozens of Carpinteria, Summerland, and Montecito residents spoke at the hearing, the majority of whom were in opposition to the proposal for a variety of reasons: noise pollution, precedence, insufficiency of the Negative Declaration, and lack of regulation on the flight path, the number of weekly flights, and the hours of operation. Several residents said that one of the reasons Nesbitt is seeking proper permitting now is that his property is for sale and having a permitted helistop would add value. Nesbitt maintains that he would require the future owner of the property to adhere to the flight path above the ocean, writing it in as a deed restriction.
The Commission received letters from over 250 residents, as well as a compilation of opinions from over 500 members of the Montecito Association, whose Board of Directors conducted an online survey of its membership regarding the helistop permit. 412 respondents to that survey said they were opposed to the helistop, with 63 indicating their support of the permit.
“Residents in the area are just now coming to terms with the expected degradation in air quality as a result of the 150 cannabis farming permits being issued in the Carpinteria Valley and now we find ourselves faced with a further reduction in the quality of living from noise pollution that will emanate from the proposed private airport and flight path being located virtually in our backyards,” wrote resident Richard Bergmark in a letter of opposition to the Commission. “Given that Mr. Nesbitt has agreed to no-fly-zones to avoid Summerland, it’s understandable that the Summerland residents have no issue with the proposed activities,” he added, referring to a several letters in support of the project from homeowners in Summerland Cottages, the nearest residential development to Nesbitt’s property. “Take notice that anyone who was against me today doesn’t live near my property,” Nesbitt said to Commissioners. “Those who supported me live close by.”
Commissioners Michael Cooney, Laura Bridley, and John Parke voted in opposition to the project; Commissioner Larry Ferini opposed the motion for opposition, saying that the project had met all findings required for approval, including passing requirements for noise pollution and other environmental issues.