Fixing Issues at Hot Springs Trail

By Sharon Byrne   |   March 4, 2021

If you live near the Hot Springs Trail: You are likely already well aware of the jammed up street parking and trail users overcrowding the area. A countywide Fire Chief’s Public Safety Task Force has looked at this, and multiple other issues, including homeless encampment fires. For the folks on Riven Rock and East Mountain Drive, the situation is out of hand. Residents found their driveways blocked by trail hikers, dumping and trash on their corners, and partying. Agencies are working on this, including Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor, Montecito Trails Foundation Ashlee Mayfield, Sheriff’s Lieutenant Butch Arnoldi, and more. We think we have a good solution, and it could extend to Mountain Drive, to ensure emergency vehicles can get there, and neighbors can evacuate safely in an emergency. If you’re a resident in that area, please contact us so we can connect with you for solutions for the area. 

Bills to Pay Attention To

Thank you for coming to our annual meeting, and thanks to our State legislators Monique Limón and Steve Bennett for taking our tough questions on the housing bills, state priorities, and more. Multiple bills are coming through the state this year to create housing supply. In working on our homeless encampments through the Hands Across Montecito project, we’re keenly aware that there is a tremendous need for housing, both affordable for very low-income individuals, and for families with moderate incomes. However, some of the state bills will be one-size-fits-all, as the intent is to a) get as much housing built as possible by b) removing all local controls. 

What does that mean for Montecito? The state is effectively setting new zoning laws for our community, and our local governments have no say in it. Local existing land use codes for single family will be superseded by state laws, should these bills pass. We’ll be working hard on advocacy on these bills and invite you to join in this effort. This is land use to the 100th power in attempting to shape legislation before it passes. We support more housing in our state, and easier routes to building it are clearly needed. However, we should never jam people into high fire or geologically hazardous zones (and we’ve got plenty of experience with this in Montecito). Further, we sure don’t want to see these bills destroy the semi-rural character of this community. We’ll be talking about this in our next Land Use Committee meeting on March 2 at 4 pm. 

Here are bills YOU should be paying attention to right now, and letting your state legislators know how you feel:

SB9 – allows lot splitting and duplexes. This will encourage land speculators to buy houses, demolish them, split the lot, and build six to eight market-rate housing units where one house previously existed. SB9 eliminates objective zoning standards allowing unrestricted building size. 

SB765 – fixes the ADU law effective 1/1/20 to allow setbacks to be regulated by local controls.

Contact your legislators through their websites:

California Senator Monique Limon:

California Assembly Member Steve Bennett:


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