Montecito Association Meets
At this month’s Montecito Association meeting, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Lieutenant Butch Arnoldi reported on the most recent crime events in Montecito.
Arnoldi noted an abandoned rental car on East Mountain Drive; vandalism at Hot Springs trailhead; mailbox destroyed on Buena Vista; intoxicated subject breaking into vehicle on Lilac Drive; embezzlement scam on School House Road; community mailboxes broken into on Macadamia Lane; trespassing subject in possession of narcotics at the Rosewood Miramar; a naked male found standing outside of his van on Riven Rock and East Mountain Road; unlocked door found opened to a home on Golf Road; a residence at Beach Club Drive broken into and car stolen; and a residential burglary on Park Lane.
Lieutenant Arnoldi said that issues at the Hot Springs Trailhead continue, and that there have been 793 parking citations issued in the entirety of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. “We are taking it very seriously, and are doing the best we can,” he said. With so many parked cars parking illegally in a tight area, a significant concern is emergency access. The Sheriff’s Department is partnering with Montecito Fire Protection District to be proactive in the area, spending more time on the trail to ensure it is vacated at dusk and that no illegal fires are started. According to County rep Darcel Elliott, there is litigation related to the problems that neighbors are having with the overabundance of vehicles and the lack of County resources to combat the problem.
During community reports, Montecito Fire Division Chief David Neels reported that the MFPD upstaffed fire personnel and engines because of windy days last week, and that the District anticipates a busy fire year.
Montecito Water General Manager Nick Turner reported a bleak statistic: that overall water use in Montecito was up substantially in March for the second month in a row. The last two months have gone over the budgeted amount of water by double, Turner said. “As you all know, severe drought is here, and we need the entire community to conserve.” The MWD adopted a five-year strategic plan in March, which establishes longer-term goals and actions to address challenges including recycled water, water banking, and further conservation planning. The plan is available on the MWD website at www.montecitowater.com. The District is also undertaking a study to look at the feasibility of consolidating MWD with Montecito Sanitary District, with joint committee meetings taking place to determine if both boards should proceed with the process. Montecito Sanitary District GM Bradley Rahrer said the MWD has reactivated its recycled water pilot program at District headquarters, as Rahrer and Turner and their respective boards work together to potentially bring recycled water to Montecito.
The Montecito Association Board voted in favor of sending a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in support of a federal grant request for the Pedestrian & Bicycle Improvements on East Cabrillo Boulevard & Union Pacific Railroad Bridge Replacement Project. Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) Public Information Manager Lauren Bianchi Klemann explained that the project has been chosen along with two other state projects to be considered for federal funding.
The $25M project would provide a safer connection for pedestrians and bicyclists through the East Cabrillo corridor via the creation of a new bike path, bike lane, and new sidewalks, and improve vehicular circulation between Los Patos Way and the 101 interchange at East Cabrillo Boulevard by constructing a roundabout at the intersection of East Cabrillo and Los Patos Way. The project also includes replacing the existing narrow Union Pacific Railroad Bridge with a new bridge spanning over a widened roadway with standard lane widths, shoulders, and pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Intersection operations would also be improved with a proposed dedicated right turn lane on eastbound Cabrillo Boulevard for the proposed southbound onramp onto Highway 101.
For more information about the project, visit sbcag.org. The next Montecito Association meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 10. For more info, visit montecitoassociation.org.