Senator Limón and Assemblymember Steve Bennett to address Montecito Association Annual Meeting

By Sharon Byrne   |   February 11, 2021

The Montecito Association will host our Annual Members Meeting next Tuesday, February 9 at 4 pm via Zoom. We say goodbye to departing directors Peter van Duinwyk and Dorinne Lee Johnson, and welcome our newly elected board directors. We also appoint our officers at this meeting. Last year, we hosted California state Senator Hannah- Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Monique Limón. This year, we will be addressed by our newly elected California state Senator Limón and Assemblymember Steve Bennett. We look forward to hearing from them. 

We’ve long had a close working relationship with Monique Limón, and this year she is the Chair of the Banking and Finance Committee. She is also serving on the Wildfire working group, very important to our area. Our County fire chiefs convened a task force in late December to tackle three hugely important issues across the county:

-Fires due to dispersed camping on our trails and front country

-Fires from homeless encampments

-Parking issues from overcrowding at trails and beaches that are impeding emergency vehicle access

I am serving on the homeless encampment subcommittee. Ashlee Mayfield of the Montecito Trails Foundation is working on dispersed camping issues. Chief Kevin Taylor of Montecito Fire, one of the chiefs to call for this task force, and who led the formation of the teams, is working on the over-parked areas that impede emergency vehicle access. I connected with Senator Limón’s office Monday to give her an update on what the team here is doing.

Assemblymember Steve Bennett has the following state committee assignments:

– Budget

– Education

– Elections

– Privacy and Consumer Protection

– Rules

– Water, Parks, and Wildlife

At our Annual Meeting, we expect to discuss the housing bills put forth this year. Senator Wiener is chairing the Housing Committee. The hearings for these bills could start late February, but most likely will happen in March and April. We send email updates to our members on these hearings, and you can participate in them virtually due to the pandemic. Here are the bills we’re watching:

Senate Bill 9, introduced by Senators Atkins and Wiener: 

Allows two residential units on a lot within a single-family residential zone to be considered ministerially, without discretionary review or hearing. Proposed housing development cannot require demolition or alteration of existing housing that is affordable, nor require demolition of more than 25% of the existing exterior structural walls, and can’t be located within a historic district.

Senate Bill 10: Senator Wiener

Would authorize a local government to pass an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area, a jobs-rich area, or an urban infill site, as those terms are defined. Does not apply to parcels in a high fire zone.

High fire hazard and housing bills:

Senate Bill 12: Senator McGuire

Requires municipalities that contain a very high fire risk area to amend the land use element of its general plan to contain the locations of all very high fire risk areas and identify feasible implementation measures relating to the protection of lives and property from unreasonable risk of wildfire. Municipalities must complete a review of wildfire risk reduction standards. The bill would require the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to review municipalities’ findings and make recommendations.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal, in consultation with the Office of Planning and Research and the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, by January 1, 2023, have to adopt wildfire risk reduction standards that meet certain requirements and reasonable standards for third-party inspection and certifications for a specified enforcement program. They also have to update the maps of the very high fire hazard severity zones and convene a working group of stakeholders to assist in this effort and to consider specified national standards.

Senate Bill 55 SB55: Senators Stern and Allen 

Existing law requires the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to determine, based on specified criteria, whether an area of the state is one for which the financial responsibility of preventing and suppressing fires is primarily the responsibility of the state. Existing law refers to these areas as “state responsibility areas.”

This bill would, in furtherance of specified state housing production and wildfire mitigation goals, prohibit the creation or approval of a new development in a very high fire hazard severity zone or a state responsibility area. 

We encourage you to join the Montecito Association, attend our annual meeting, and stay on top of issues that affect our community. You can join at montecitoassociation.org.

 

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