Sound Wall Considerations

By Montecito Journal   |   April 18, 2023

I would like to add something to the comments on the recent Board of Supervisors’ decision regarding sound walls along the 101 corridor in Montecito, which meeting I attended. My concern is that in this conversation we are perhaps disregarding the “elephant in the room,” which would be the status of our creeks and their ability to handle significant rain events. 

An excellent article in the Los Angeles Times (April 7), “Opinion: Catastrophic floods and breached levees reveal a problem California too often neglects” discusses just this issue. It is written by Jeffrey Mount (senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center) and Brett Sanders (professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Samuel School of Engineering at UC Irvine). 

A major point of the article concerns flood preparation efforts, which generally meet only the bare minimum of federal standards. Also, “official floodplain maps are either out of date or inaccurate.” The article recommends that communities identify risks and take appropriate responses, including investment in flood management and aging, inadequate infrastructure. To finance such processes, they point to $700 million in one-time state funding available for flood improvements.

Like Supervisor Das Williams, I would not like to think that anyone would lose life or property in a severe rain event just because of sound walls, or (maybe more importantly) because we did not investigate and fix all of what contributes to flooding. 

The lack of sound walls did not stop Olive Mill Road from becoming a raging river in January 2018, flooding intersections at South and North Jameson, Coast Village Road, Virginia and Humphrey roads (among others) and pouring water onto the freeway. I was there, driving on S. Jameson (not flooded) trying to evacuate. But, after meeting flooded streets at all possible routes, I had to turn around and spend the night in the parking lot of All-Saints-by-the-Sea. And I was one of the lucky ones.

Pauline Paulin,
South Jameson Road

Keep the Hot Springs Clean

The harm to wildlife in the Hot Springs area, including aquatic life, is severe as a result of the hot springs pool construction. It is patently illegal in California to obstruct creek flow. The damming of the stream bed attracts hordes of people bathing in this water creating an unsanitary health hazard as there are no restroom facilities near the illegally constructed pools. I have seen trash, including toilet paper and human excrement, along the stream bed banks.

This precious land, purchased by our community to preserve nature, has become a disgusting environmental health hazard putting our community and nature in harm’s way.

The hot springs pool construction must stop to preserve the balance of nature in this sensitive environment and end further destruction by selfish party-goers who care nothing about the harm caused by their actions.


Cheryl Trosky  


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