Montecito Association Meets

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   September 19, 2023

At this month’s Montecito Association Board of Directors meeting, President Megan Orloff announced the Association’s new Executive Director: Houghton Hyatt, who served on the MA Board of Directors for six years, and has helped with countless community events. We’ll have more with Hyatt and her ideas for the MA in a future edition. 

During Community Reports, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Community Resource Officer Bryan Dickey reported on August calls for service, of which there was only one major call: a forced entry and robbery in Bonnymede, in which valuable jewelry was stolen. Nick Turner with Montecito Water District reported that our water supply outlook is favorable through 2026, thanks to this year’s wet weather, a forecasted wet winter, and customer water use below budget. The District’s Smart Meter portal will be available this week for customers to access real-time data regarding water use. 

First District Supervisor Das Williams’ rep Darcel Elliott reported that the supervisor’s office is currently working on several important topics in Montecito, including staffing issues at Montecito Library, overnight parking restrictions on Humphrey Road, and the potential of the County of Santa Barbara to take over the ring net project. 

During the President’s report, Orloff reported that there are five vacancies coming up on the MA Board, and anyone interested should reach out to be considered. The MA recently sent out a survey to members regarding three important topics: big box stores in the Upper Village, insurance issues, and short-term rentals. The survey is still live for the next few days. 

The Board were given two presentations on homeowner’s insurance by Richie Sayavong from the California Insurance Commissioner’s Office and Kelly Weiser, owner of a local insurance brokerage. Sayavong reported that Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is continuing to work to ensure California residents have fair access to insurance. 

Weiser explained that the Thomas Fire in 2017 is considered the 8th largest wildfire in California history, and since late 2021 and early 2022, significant insurers have left our marketplace or significantly reduced the number of homes they would insure. She explained there are several factors which determine insurability, including fire risk, market saturation, total insured value of the home, and physical factors like accessibility for fire trucks and slopes on the property. Condos and rentals are much more difficult to insure than a primary residence. Weiser says that the current solutions for lack of insurance carriers, or, astronomical insurance costs, include layering policies and utilizing the California FAIR Plan, which will cover up to $3M. Non-admitted carriers – meaning they do business through wholesale brokers and are not required to follow the same state regulations as admitted carriers – are also an option in our area, Weiser said. 

Insurance access continues to be an issue that the Montecito Association monitors. To learn more, visit


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