ONGOING MONTECITO PROJECTS UPDATE

 101 in Motion: The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) endorsed a combined commuter rail and additional lanes Measure D renewal option for placement on the November 2006 ballot. The measure will require a 66% ‘yes’ vote to pass. On April 5, SBCAG, in a 9-2 vote, gave preliminary support to one measure for a total three-quarter-cent tax before the voters (Measure D currently imposes a half-cent sales tax). The board threw out a plan to put two separate sales tax measures on the November ballot. SBCAG will make a final vote on April 20. For more information visit www.101inmotion.com.

 101 Operational Improvements: This four-year, four-stage, $50-million project is slated to begin in 2007 with funding from Measure D. The construction plans are 95% completed at this time and have been submitted to the City of Santa Barbara Design Review Team for further review. Further information about the project is available at www.sbcag.org. Due to Association input four of the six off-ramp closure times will be shortened. The Association has endorsed road improvements at the west end of Coast Village Road that include retention of the trees on the north side of the road and some loss of parking on the south side and recommended other changes to improve circulation safety in the immediate area.

 Biltmore Seawall: Reconstruction of the seawall is currently undergoing County review. The County will soon release a draft environmental document.

 Channel Drive/Olive Mill Roadwork: Construction for the Montecito Lift Station building and other roadwork is scheduled to continue this spring. Olive Mill Road north of Hill Road will be temporarily widened to accommodate a staging area for trucks to help minimize construction traffic. Installation of a landscaped median just south of the Bonnymede entrance, three crosswalks and associated bulb-outs have been proposed and in response to public safety and community concerns, plans will be modified to exclude the landscaped median, minimize the size of bulb-outs and to identify additional locations for on-street public parking.

 Coral Casino: The Coral Casino closed to members last October. However, the kitchen will be used to prepare all food for the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel during its renovations. Last month, a County Superior Court judge turned down a lawsuit cast by the club’s opposition. The decision opened the way for the dismantling of 10 second-story cabanas, a part of the club that opponents had tenaciously strived to protect. Cynthia Ziegler, head of the Coral Casino Preservation Committee, said she hasn’t decided whether her group will seek more appeals against the $65 million renovation.

 Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel: County Planning & Development Department approved an amendment to the Biltmore Hotel Development Plan. The Association continues to work with hotel personnel and Public Works to identify alternatives and avoid commercial bus parking along Channel Drive. Remodeling work continues with major work scheduled for completion by May 2006, with many facilities reopening this month.

 Housing Element Update: The County is identifying sites in the unincorporated area for potential up-zoning to meet Regional Housing Needs Assessment numbers identified for the County by Sacramento. Currently, no sites are on the table in the Montecito community; however, one County Planning Commissioner suggested some be considered. The County complimented Montecito’s efforts to date in identifying strategies for providing affordable housing. The Montecito Fire Protection District recently announced the purchase of three units for rental to District employees.

 Montecito Country Club: Property owner Ty Warner submitted a pre-application to the City of Santa Barbara for major changes to the property. Proposed changes include redesign of the golf course, additions to the clubhouse and other structures totaling 36,000 square feet, two underground parking structures and nine new dwellings.

 Warner Fairway Road Properties: Construction on the main house and exterior garden grading and demolition are proceeding. Additional over height walls and gateposts have been proposed along The Fairway on Fairway Road.

 Westmont College: The College’s proposal for a master plan to add approximately 378,000 square feet to the campus has been considered in several hearings before the Montecito Planning Commission. The next hearing is scheduled for April 19. Contact County Planning & Development at 568-2000 for the specific hearing time.

 ZORP: The County publicly released a draft of a revised County-wide Land Use Development Code and it is accepting public comments until April 21. The County-wide Code includes provisions that are applicable to the coastal zone of Montecito. A separate code for the inland Montecito area will be available for public review in the near future. The Association’s ZORP (Zone Ordinance Reformatting Process) team continues to review drafts as they become available.