Women Recognized by CSS and MUS

By Kelly Herrick   |   April 8, 2021
Montecito Association’s executive director Sharon Byrne was recently recognized by local school superintendents Dr. Amy Alzina and Dr. Anthony Ranii as part of Women’s History Month

Montecito school superintendents Dr. Amy Alzina, Superintendent of Cold Spring School District, and Dr. Anthony Ranii, Superintendent of Montecito Union School District, recognize the leadership of three outstanding women leaders in the local community in honor of Women’s History Month, including Montecito Association Executive Director Sharon Byrne.

In addition to her work with Montecito Association, and previously, the Coast Village Association, Byrne also serves as a Delegate of the 65th Annual Conference on the Status of Women. She has a Masters in Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and serves as a member of the Behavior Wellness Commission of Santa Barbara County. Alzina and Ranii both agree that Byrne is a trusted source of news and information in the greater Montecito community. “Her leadership of the Montecito Association has brought our community together and provided support to those in need,” Alzina said. “I am deeply honored to be recognized by two superintendents for whom I have the greatest regard. I just want to serve in a useful capacity, and it’s reassuring that these community leaders feel I am doing so,” said Byrne, who is also a contributor to this publication. 

Two more local women, Dr. Susan Salcido and Susan Klein-Rothschild, were also honored by the superintendents. Salcido is the Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools, and is currently leading the 20 school districts in Santa Barbara County through the pandemic. She has coordinated support to school districts in a variety of areas, including educational programming, fiscal services, human resources management support, educator professional development, and recently, pandemic planning, and recovery. “Dr. Salcido wants to give local leaders every tool for success possible during this fraught time. She has become a trusted partner to me, and I have often sought out her wisdom when I was working through my toughest challenges,” Ranii said. Susan Klein-Rothschild, MSW, affectionately known by school superintendents as Susan K.R., is the Liaison between the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and local schools in Santa Barbara for COVID-19. She has a long history of working in public health, family services, and managing education programs. Her insights as former chair of Emergency Public Information Communicators (EPIC), have been instrumental in leading education administrators in Santa Barbara County through the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am so incredibly grateful for Susan’s support, advocacy, and accessibility through this pandemic. She has made herself available to me and my colleagues at all hours of the day and night to answer tough questions related to student and staff health and safety,” Alzina said.

New ADU Rules

At a hearing earlier this month, Montecito Planning Commissioners gave the thumbs up to new ordinance language pertaining to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Montecito and unincorporated Santa Barbara County. The new ordinance language was presented by Long Range Planner Jessica Steele, who has been working on ADU regulations since 2016. Back then, new State laws reduced barriers, streamlined the approval process, and expanded the capacity to accommodate the development of these granny units – aka ADUs – in order to provide additional rental housing in residential areas in California amid a statewide housing crisis. 

Now, new, even more relaxed State laws that went into effect in 2020 have made local laws null and void, and it has been up the County’s Long Range Planning Department to update ordinance language to comply with the State laws. The new State laws make adding an ADU easier than ever, and even allow for the addition of multiple ADUs on a single lot in some instances. 

While the proposed local ordinance language is dense and complicated, it works within the confines of the State regulations, and touches on such issues as setbacks, size limits, height limits, parking requirements, permitting timelines, floor area requirements, permitting fees, and the design process. Some ADUs will be exempt from these new local laws, including instances where a homeowner wants to build one ADU within a single family home or accessory structure, or build a new construction detached, small, single level ADU. Historically, prior to these ADU laws, detached secondary residential units (with kitchens) in residential zones in Montecito were only permissible on properties of at least five acres; an attached unit (think cordoning off a master bedroom and bath, and adding a kitchenette and exterior entrance) was permissible on a lot of at least 7,000 sq. ft. Now, a secondary unit (aka ADU) is permissible regardless of the lot size. 

Previously, all new or altered structures located within the Montecito Community Plan area were subject to review and approval by MBAR; this is no longer the case, and the design process for ADUs is required to be “objective.” New construction additions to a single family home to house an ADU must use the same/comparable materials to be consistent with the design of the existing home, whereas new construction detached ADUs have no design standards. 

As was outlined in previous ADU ordinances, ADUs are not allowed to be used for short term rentals of less than 30 days, or homestays. 

“Staff has done the very best that can be done given the prescriptive nature of what has come down from the State,” said MPC Commissioner Susan Keller, as the Commission voted unanimously to approve the ordinance language. The laws still need approval by the County Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, and to be certified by the California Coastal Commission. 

There have been about 60 applications for ADUs in Montecito in the last year; this number is expected to increase. Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor reported at the hearing that every application for an ADU is heard by the Fire Prevention Bureau, who considers ingress and egress from a property of utmost importance. The MFPD has hired an evacuation consultant to evaluate and improve Montecito’s evacuation plans, taking into account the potential for greater density given new ADU laws. 

To learn more about ADUs, and to see newly-developed checklists and application submittal requirements, visit www.countyofsb.org/plndev/permitting/adu-jadu.sbc.

MERRAG Training Next Week

MERRAG (Montecito Emergency Response & Recovery Action Group) board president Sue Ziliotto reports that an important training is coming up next week, via Zoom. 

Attendees of the training, which is free and open to the community, will learn about disaster preparedness, specifically, about the types of and key elements of disasters; potential impacts on infrastructure; community alerts and warnings, evacuation routes, and how to obtain critical information; training in preparedness, first aid, and response skills; how to practice skills and personal plans through periodic drills at home and  in your neighborhood; how to network and be able to help others, and be aware of suspicious activity; how to participate in community feedback opportunities; and how to volunteer. 

To register for the training, visit www.merrag.org/training


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