Cemetery Project on Hold 

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   December 13, 2022

Early next year, the Montecito Planning Commission (MPC) will further consider a project by the Santa Barbara Cemetery that involves the subterranean installation of 2,358 cubic yards pre-cast, double-depth, concrete crypts and associated grading and drainage. 

The proposed project will require approximately 9,859 cubic yards of cut and 4,066 cubic yards of fill over an area of approximately 1.17 acres; approximately 5,793 cubic yards of excess material will be exported offsite. The proposed project also includes the installation of a subterranean drainage system that will drain to an existing drywell previously installed for this purpose. Upon completion of the installation, the lawn will be restored with new sod. 

At issue for the MPC, which first considered the project in November, is that the proposed project will remove one mature Moreton Bay fig tree. According to a staff report, the tree has been identified by a certified arborist as being in poor condition and unlikely to recover. The proposed project also includes three new 36-inch box canary island pines to be planted within the proposed project footprint. Commissioner Donna Senauer requested that the arborist’s report be peer reviewed before approving the project, as she called the large tree a significant, heritage tree. 

While crypts at the cemetery are typically installed one at a time as needed for individual burials using a backhoe or similar equipment, this proposed project is a mass installation of double-depth crypts, which will allow for the inclusion of a drainage system, and will allow for future burials/installation of caskets to be performed with hand tools for more efficient cemetery operations, according to project reps. 

The installation of additional crypts and re-contouring of the area will not be readily visible from Channel Drive or other public viewing areas, according to County staff. 

The project will be back in front of the Montecito Planning Commission on January 18, 2023. 


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