June’s Land Use Meeting

By Joanne A Calitri   |   June 11, 2024

The Montecito Association held its Land Use monthly meeting on June 4, led by new Land Use Chair, Dorinne Lee Johnson, who is taking on the position for the second time since 2007.

Kirsten Ayars, Ayars & Associates Principal on the 101 Highway project, presented the plan for Montecito through Summer 2025. This same presentation will be held for the public at Montecito Union School Thursday, June 6, 4 pm, so bring your concerns and questions. She reviewed the 101 project completions for Carpinteria, the mostly finished Summerland (save the landscaping), and the soon to be open HOV commuter lane from Summerland through Carpinteria. Also left to tie together is the bike lane from Santa Claus Lane through Padaro Lane by November 2024. She pointed out the plants and landscaping in the completed areas. 

Montecito will ride the use of a divided lane northbound from now through summer 2025. She explained that due to the existing bridges over the 101 at San Ysidro Road and Olive Mill Road, the divided lane plan is being used. Those exit ramps will be divided off via Channelizer orange plastic cones, with signage 1 mile in advance indicating an exit via the cones. 

The 101 between Hixon and Olive Mill roads will use safety barriers for the division. One northbound lane will be located on the southbound side. The lanes will meet the standard width of 12 feet with 2 feet for the barriers, and as much as possible a 4 foot emergency shoulder area. Emergency vehicles can drive safely over the orange plastic cones.

Q&A from the MA Board and public yielded the following information: Sound walls along the 101 in Montecito are not being constructed due to SB County’s stipulation that the soundwalls would increase flooding, and upstream conditions improve to support it. There is landscaping planned for the sides of the 101 for Montecito, not the center divider. This is due to the Caltrans restriction of staying within the existing boundaries of the highway, and the community voting not to widen the 101 by encroaching on private property. She ensured all the design elements for the Montecito roundabouts were done based on studies of the area, traffic, and safety. The roundabouts are designed to allow a single lane of traffic, can accommodate all vehicles including Mack trucks, and the roundabout height is meant to cause drivers to slow down, look for vehicles entering from the left and proceed. Although based on general traffic studies, there are no plans to study the safety of these roundabouts for Montecito. Johnson invited the team to return and report in six months.

John Weigold, GM of Montecito Sanitary District, gave the updates on sewer line easements on private property in Montecito. Data points he made were concerns on easements increased with the 150 ADUs built in Montecito in the past year; there are 77 miles of sewer lines in Montecito built in early 1960 made of clay pipe, half of which are lined with polyurethane. To finish lining all the pipes costs $40 million; 10% of the private properties are not connected to the sewer lines; property owners own the sewer line on their property and are responsible for keeping it in line with utility use; property easements are 15 feet wide around sewer lines and not to have anything built on top of that area.

He reviewed the MSD mandatory updates from March 2024 and advised to check their website. Questions regarded private property rights and working together with the community as a whole; issues about the Bucket Brigade building paths on easements without contacting all the utilities that are involved and the property owners. Board suggested all utility companies in Montecito have similar if not the same easement regulations for consistency for the homeowners. Johnson stated a separate meeting regarding the BB and paths will be held.

Montecito Water District General Manager Nick Turner reported on MWD as the designated Groundwater Sustainability Agency, its duties, findings, and going forward.

Cogent points were the groundwater basin in Montecito is 1,200 acres for public use which is 30% of total water needed; the metrics for sustainable groundwater are monitoring levels, quality, creek stream flow and sweater intrusion of wells along the coastline. Also, Montecito property owners are required to register their well, can receive $3,000 for installing rain gardens on their property and to have installed a free water meter for data collection by the MWD. Due to the past years of rainfall, groundwater conditions are good and have risen 130 feet.  

411: www.montecitoassociation.org

www.SBROADS.com, 805.845.5112, info@sbroads.com


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