Vaccine Rollout Bumpy and Confusing
By Sharon Byrne   |   January 28, 2021

If you feel confused and uncertain about COVID-19 vaccinations, you’re in the majority. The rollout has been confusing and startling, at times. The federal government releases buckets of vaccine to states, based on population. States set their priorities, hopefully in line with what the CDC recommends, and then allocate doses to counties based on their […]

Love And Light In The Darkness: The Third Annual 1/9 Commemoration
By Sharon Byrne   |   January 21, 2021

Saturday night, many of us gathered electronically to commemorate the third anniversary of the Debris Flow that claimed 23 of our community members, destroyed hundreds of homes, and shook us to our core.  It’s a day we’ll never forget.  As with all major disasters, the entire community experienced a collective trauma: shock, loss, grief, and […]

1/9 Ceremony for Montecito: A Night of Remembrance, Solidarity, and Hope
By Sharon Byrne   |   January 14, 2021

As our community approaches the third anniversary of the 1/9 Thomas Fire Debris Flow, we find ourselves in the third consecutive disaster we’ve faced as a community, and this time it’s a global pandemic. This Saturday, we’d love to gather everyone, come together as a community, and remember those we lost in the early morning […]

A Great Montecito Neighbor is Making Stories Matter
By Sharon Byrne   |   December 31, 2020

Last Sunday, community godfather and Christmas Elf Dana Newquist organized the second Montecito-To-Unity toy and fundraising drive and caravan for delivery. A great group met up at the Upper Village in classic cars, ready to donate toys and funds for the second week in a row. Dana asked me to get up on the 1937 […]

When Your Neighbor is an Angel: Meet Adam McKaig of Adam’s Angels
By Sharon Byrne   |   December 24, 2020

Many of you are familiar with our Hands Across Montecito project – where Montecito neighbors are partnering as part of a Montecito Association initiative to help the unsheltered in our community find resources and housing. We have wonderful partnerships on this community-based and -supported effort, including our Sheriff’s and Montecito Fire departments and City Net […]

Holiday Cheer is Here in Montecito, Despite Pandemic Shutdown
By Sharon Byrne   |   December 17, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom’s shutdown order, in place for a minimum of three weeks, means no more dinners out for a while, coffees with friends, all of that. However, this is Montecito, a special, magical community of strong people that have been through a lot, with love in their hearts. This renders them fully capable of […]

The Christmas Tree Has Arrived
By Sharon Byrne   |   December 17, 2020

Hospice Santa Barbara has installed our Christmas tree in the Upper Village for the third year in a row, and Light Up A Life takes place December 16 at 6 pm. We will be well into Hanukkah, and closing in on the Winter Solstice on December 21, the longest night of the year. Light Up […]

Homelessness Update: Montecito Leading the Way
By Sharon Byrne   |   December 3, 2020

The Hands Across Montecito initiative got off to a great start this September. We did a census count with a terrific team of Montecito volunteers, our fire chiefs, sheriffs, and members of Behavioral Wellness, organized by City Net. We hiked all over Montecito, interviewing, and finding out more about who is living unsheltered here, and […]

Smarting the Average Bear
By Sharon Byrne   |   November 19, 2020

We learned that “Carlos the Bear,” as he’s been nicknamed by locals, has ranged from the San Carlos Ranch and Romero Canyon area through Ennisbrook trail down to Jameson. He’s looking for food, during hyperphagia, when bears try to put on weight for the winter. This behavior is expected to calm with cooler weather as […]

Transportation, the 101, and Bears, Oh My!
By Sharon Byrne   |   November 19, 2020

The Montecito Association Transportation Committee deals with all things roads, bike paths, and pedestrian walkways in Montecito. At our October meeting, we got an update on the Highway 101 project, including the reasons why the backup was so bad when the Sheffield segment started. The state switched the construction schedule from night to day due […]

Struggling with Homeowner’s Insurance?
By Sharon Byrne   |   October 29, 2020

Revelations From the California Insurance Commissioner’s Marathon Virtual Hearing The good news from the pandemic: the state has learned how to do Zoom. We no longer have to trek to Sacramento to work with state officials; we can now do it from our living rooms. Direct democracy in action! We met Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara last […]

Taking Our Utility Lines Underground
By Sharon Byrne   |   October 21, 2020

At the Montecito Association Land Use Committee, we decided to tackle undergrounding as a team. The Office of Assembly Member Monique Limón, representatives from the office of First District Supervisor Das Williams, Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett, and Hidden Hills Councilmember Laura McCorkindale joined us. We have several brave neighbors attempting to underground their utilities […]

Neighborhood Pinch Points In the Pandemic
By Sharon Byrne   |   October 13, 2020

The pandemic has introduced a slew of new neighborhood issues that require a lot of work to untangle. We’re happy to step up for some of these, but many are outsider-induced. Most of these issues started up in late spring, near Memorial Day, when the lockdowns had eased, the weather got warmer, and people wanted […]

Hands Across Montecito Performs Census Count of Homeless
By Sharon Byrne   |   October 1, 2020

Monday morning at 6 am, a crowd of 30 gathered at a church in Santa Barbara’s Eastside to perform a homeless census count. This is part of the Hands Across Montecito Project, started by the Montecito Association in response to concerns of large encampments growing along the tracks, encounters on Coast Village, thefts, and fires. […]

The Multi-Jurisdictional Problem in Montecito – Hammond’s Trail
By Sharon Byrne   |   September 24, 2020

At the Montecito Association, we often work with neighbors on specific issues. Who is responsible for the tree dropping bowling ball-sized pinecones in the street? Who handles the trash at Highway 101 and Hot Springs Road? What do I do if my neighbor’s hedge becomes infested with rats? These types of questions often require calls […]

Congestion, Road Repairs, and Parking Issues?
By Sharon Byrne   |   September 10, 2020

We handle it all at the Montecito Association Transportation Committee No matter what your transportation concern is, chances are good that someone from the Montecito Association Transportation Committee is already working on it. We’ve put together an all-star lineup that meets over Zoom to work on the most pressing issues in this area: Chad Chase: […]

Legislative Update – the Mega Late Night Assembly Session Finale
By Sharon Byrne   |   September 3, 2020

The California legislature raced to get a slew of bills passed before the legislative session closed on August 31. Nine bills were proposed by the Senate leadership to create up to three million units of housing in California. Some of these bills directly impact Montecito, so we worked with Assembly Member Monique Limón and Senator […]

Our Priorities for 2020
By Sharon Byrne   |   March 12, 2020

At the end of February, we issued a survey electronically to our membership, and the response rate was pretty strong and super-informative. We did this same thing in 2019, and it informed our work for the year. In 2019, our community identified as their top three priorities: 1. Safety and security: evacuations, emergencies, crime, and […]

Season’s Greetings, and the Year in Review
By Sharon Byrne   |   December 26, 2019

We hope you’re enjoying some of the lovely holiday decorations in our community. On December 4, we lit the tree in the Upper Green in front of Pierre Lafond, during Hospice’s now second annual Light Up A Life in Montecito. The Hathaway tree was decorated at Upper Manning Park by some fabulous elves that also […]

Right-of-Way Rules
By Sharon Byrne   |   October 17, 2019

Knowing where your property ends and where roads begin can be confusing. The Montecito Association has received some calls about easements and encroachments and realized it might be a good idea to write about roads, bridges, and other related topics. Road right-of-way is dedicated when property maps are created to allow space for the County, […]

Getting Ready For The Village Fourth – We Want YOU!
By Sharon Byrne   |   June 20, 2019

We’re delighted to report that our July 4th Committee is busy making all the magic happen that’s required for a stellar Village 4th Parade and Country Fair. This is Montecito’s annual community-based and highly patriotic event, also known as “The Biggest Little Parade in the World.” We’ll have fabulous treats and a performance from American […]