Montecito Planning Commission 

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   September 26, 2023

Last week the Montecito Planning Commission (MPC) received an annual maintenance report on the Debris Flow Mitigation Project. 

Pat McElroy, a rep for the citizen-led group The Project for Resilient Communities (TPRC), which spearheaded the installation of the six steel debris flow nets that were placed in the canyons above Montecito in 2018, told the Commission that cleanout of the net in the upper San Ysidro Canyon is scheduled for next week, and will take a few weeks to complete. This year’s storms in January impacted all of the nets in the community, and filled one to the top in San Ysidro Canyon, which was critical in containing a debris flow. Next week’s workplan includes installing a copper dam and creating creek diversion to prevent sedimentation downstream. Crews will redistribute the debris into the creek channels and the material will be stabilized. A helicopter will be utilized for roughly six days help to move larger debris, and nearby trails will be closed. McElroy said they are working with Montecito Trails Foundation to coordinate. 

The future of the nets will be discussed at a future Board of Supervisors hearing; TPRC recently filed an application with the County of Santa Barbara to extend the emergency permits for the nets to remain in place. If the application is rejected, the nets will have to be removed by November of this year, prior to the rainy season beginning. The group is seeking a five-year extension to the permits from the County, and are also seeking to discuss the possibility of the nets being managed and maintained by the County moving forward. The group is seeking to donate the nets system as part of an overall strategy for Public Works infrastructure becoming more robust for the community’s protection. 

Also at the MPC: the Commission was given a Condition Compliance update from the Miramar Hotel for 2021 and 2022. The hotel project was approved by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in April 2015, with the hotel opening in 2019. The Development Plan included numerous conditions which require ongoing monitoring and annual reporting including parking decals, parking plans, review of events, employee parking program, automated parking system, and excursion buses. According to County staff there have been no complaints related to the Miramar’s parking conditions in 2021 and 2022, and no violations noted. 

Lastly, the MPC approved (with conditions) a proposed subdivision of 13.02 acres at 749 San Ysidro Road into four lots ranging in size from 3.03 to 3.54 acres. The project includes the demolition of an existing home, tennis court, pool, and accessory structures. 


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