Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   April 1, 2021

‘Skunky Odors’ Need Immediate Attention

We are the residents of Linden Meadow in Carpinteria, a community of 40 homes immediately adjacent to the greenhouses located at 4801 Foothill and 1495 Sterling Road in Carpinteria. For the last few years, we have been regularly subjected to the heavy, skunky odors of cannabis growing in the greenhouses surrounding our area.

The smell can be overwhelming – day or night. We often cannot open our windows because of the odor, and frankly, even closing the windows does not help on some odoriferous occasions. This is a public nuisance that severely impacts our neighborhood as well as other surrounding areas. We strongly request that all relevant agencies do everything possible to ameliorate this situation. 

We are also concerned about the health effects of the Byers odor amelioration system currently in use. It has certainly not eliminated the problem, as we still smell the odor. Some of our residents suffer allergic reactions or migraine headaches due to the vapors produced by the Byers system. Elected representatives and regulatory agencies should endeavor to protect the health and safety of all our citizens.

We object to increased cannabis production especially as it is taking place literally a few hundred feet from our homes unless a proven effective odor elimination system is installed and in use in all cannabis farms in the Carpinteria area. It makes no sense to allow additional cannabis production in our area until an effective odor containment system is in place in all existing and future greenhouses.

To reiterate, the residents of Linden Meadow are strongly opposed to more cannabis production here or in the Carpinteria valley until the growers put effective odor containment systems in place. Please keep our beautiful little city of Carpinteria a healthy, pleasant and odor-free place to live. 

Our hope is that the city council, other agencies involved, and our county supervisors will be responsive to our objections as they are a major concern to our community.

Sincerely,
Linden Meadow Homeowners

Why the Name Change?

I enjoyed the article about the Big Yellow House in Summerland. I want to add a piece of information, however. When my parents moved to this area in 1972, this house was painted bright yellow but called, incongruously, “The Green Gables.” Only some years later was it labeled “Big Yellow House.” Can you add something about what that was about?

Carrie Miles
Carpinteria

Say Goodbye to Rural Montecito

On Wednesday, March 17, 2021 the Montecito Planning Commission approved by a 3-to-1 vote a zoning change for the Matkins property at 651 Stoddard Lane in Montecito. This body approved the 3.36-acre parcel to be subdivided into two, single-acre parcels, and one of 1.36 acres. The zoning designation creates three new legal lots, allowing the property owner from Los Angeles to build additional houses. The Board of Supervisors has to also approve this zoning change. If the supervisors deny it, the Planning Commission’s approval will be nullified.

This zoning change is a big mistake. It threatens the very rural nature of Montecito, which is contrary to the Montecito Community Plan, which calls for its protection. It sets a dangerous precedent. If this gets approved by the supervisors, it will encourage other property owners to try and change their zoning, and if denied they can claim discrimination. If this passes it will be a dream for developers, and an incentive for them to buy Montecito properties.

I live next to the Matkins property. I’ve been in my home since 1974, although I left for some years and came back. A huge orchid farm was on the property, with many greenhouses covering the acreage. After the greenhouses came down in 2006 the property has remained unused. The grass grew and nature made a comeback. It’s a beautiful piece of land, where many wildlife live. Sometimes I hear the yelps of coyotes that seem to be coming from there.

The current zoning for the 3.36-acre lot helps offset the dense development along Stoddard Lane and Paso Robles Drive nearby, many houses having one-fourth acre lots. On another side of the property is Chelham Way, also having many small lots. It’s nice to have a greenbelt near the dense development. Once the rural character of this area is gone, it’s not the same Montecito.

It’s so easy to change zoning, too easy. In Napa County, the zoning is protected, and it takes a vote of the people to change it. That county takes protecting its rural character very seriously.

Originally, this land, like all of Montecito, was Native American land. Then it was appropriated from the natives, ultimately resulting in today’s parcels. I wish some wealthy person would purchase this land and open space and give it back to the Native Americans – as opposed to changing the zoning to accommodate a wealthy individual.

Although the property owner would be able to make a lot of money off of subdividing the property, if the zoning change is denied, a lot of over three acres in Montecito is still valuable. A fancy home could be built on the 3.36-acre parcel, and the property owner would still do well financially.

Only one planning commissioner, Susan Keller, opposed this zoning change. During the meeting she heroically fought to protect the rural character of Montecito, and warned that this zoning change was a precedent, and would encourage more development.

The Planning Commissioners also decided to exempt this project from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This is absurd because there could be very toxic substances remaining from the industrial orchid farm. Wildlife would be impacted from development. There could also be Native American artifacts on the proposed lots. There has never been enough review. Given all of this, the commissioners denying environmental review doesn’t make sense.

Members of the public who oppose this zoning change can contact the Board of Supervisors.

Bryan Rosen

Small Group, Big Problems

From what I see and read, Santa Barbara residents seem to be doing a responsible job in not spreading the virus: wearing masks, social distancing, getting the vaccine, etc.

The problem is a group of people (of all ages) who seem to have a total disregard of how easy it is to spread the coronavirus. 

These “citizens” go to the Hot Springs Trail at East Mountain Drive and Riven Rock Road. Their cars are parked up and down East Mountain Drive and Riven Rock Road, creating lots of constant traffic, road hazards, and bottlenecks. They hike up a narrow trail, walking very close together, many not wearing masks. 

The destination is less than a half-mile up to the natural hot springs, where they sit in large groups in the pools. During the lockdown last year, some people took it upon themselves to expand the pools, creating a series of cascading water, making this an appealing place to hang out. Sounds wonderful, if we were not dealing with a worldwide health crisis. 

Sometimes people ignore common sense, so perhaps the city needs to get involved and supply supervision there or close the trail until after we get this health crisis under control.

East Mountain Drive Resident
Name withheld upon Request

Of Bears and Bees

Carlos, the bear, was jolted awake by his alarm, but did not hit the snooze button. Instead, he glanced at the clocks face and saw it was 9 pm, March 20 and the first day of spring! The perfect time to head out and find food. His stomach was growling, and he was hungry after months of hibernation. A good meal was a priority, but first he checked the outside temp – 55 degrees. Still cold! And this is the first day of spring! Chalking it up to Global Weirding, he went out into the chilly air.

Happily, he sauntered down Romero Canyon Road in search of chicken coops, but the ones he found had been bear-proofed with chain-link fencing or electric current. Carlos happened upon some trash cans, however only one yielded any substantial sustenance. Inside, within it, there was a Lucky’s doggie bag. 

“Bear bag is more like it,” Carlos thought as he gnawed on a half-eaten steak. The fries that came with it were a welcome treat as well, for he needed all the fattening food he could put down.

After his meal, Carlos strode further down Romero, stretching his legs and sniffing the air. 

“Odd,” he thought. “I don’t smell any water.” 

He cut across the road to the creek and found it dry!

“Another drought year,” he sighed. Staying well away from the road, he made his way to the Coffin Trail and eventually made it all the way to the QAD trail. From his promontory, a bright waxing crescent moon gave Carlos a commanding view of the oceans glitter. Carlos sat, scratching his head. Amazed by the bustling activity on the 101, he thought, “Such a mess, by the time they finish widening the lanes, they’ll have to start over again!”

Carlos took a deep breath then slowly started back to his den, stopping occasionally to turn over a log to lick up some grubs or snag an unaware gopher. Still hungry, he was not picky. And, he was thirsty, so he cut over to Birnam Wood and made his way to the lake for a drink.

Back at his den Carlos turned on his TV. Oprah was interviewing Meghan and Harry. He delighted in their English accents and was intrigued by their story. But it was Archie’s chicken coop that made his eyes big. However, he thought better of making a future stop there for dinner, because Scotland Yard would surely be on his tail!!

Tiring of the news, Carlos switched off his TV, said a prayer for rain, and thought about the “she-bear” he had flirted with last year. 

“Why do I feel so good when I am near her?” he thought, as he drifted off for a night’s sleep.

Michael Edwards

 

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