Miramar, Take Four

Last week, we wrote that Caruso Affiliated would present its Miramar plans to the Montecito Board of Architectural Review (MBAR) beginning at 3 pm on September 10. About an hour after we went to press, we received an email from Matt Middlebrook, Vice President of Government Relations for Caruso Affiliated, informing us they were withdrawing their plans and had cancelled the meeting with the MBAR. The reason? A “complication” regarding the easement to the private road in the middle of the property came forward.

Those complication arose, apparently, from neighbors’ concerns that “the design of the new road would exacerbate existing flood problems during a heavy storm.” According to Caruso’s team, their study “conclusively determined that our project would have no impact on Oak Creek under flood conditions.”

Nevertheless, nearby residents were not convinced and refused to grant permission for the road to be moved. For that reason, Caruso Affiliated pulled the plans and will go back to the drawing boards for a redesign, leaving the road in its current location.

As for those Story Poles

A number of recent emails to the Journal have expressed dismay over the height of the poles and the visual impact the buildings may have on the beachfront.

We like the Caruso team and believe they will be considerate operators, but residents’ and especially neighbors’ worries must be addressed. Some of those neighbors, like Brad Hall and family, for example, go back four generations. They and their ancestors have proven to be good shepherds of the beachfront and their concerns are and should be Montecito’s concerns. We agree that the main building seems awfully tall. As a developer, Caruso is accustomed to thinking big and we understand and even admire that, but in this case, he may be better off lowering expectations so that when he finally presents his plans to the MBAR, there’ll be no need for a height variation.

The Miramar is a rotting shell of a once-thriving beachfront hotel. Although nostalgia still lives in the memories of many, it is no more. Delaying this project could cause unexpected consequences for Montecito. If Caruso decides the hassle isn’t worth it, we all lose, and years will go by once again before anything is built. Here’s hoping this delay isn’t a foretaste of things to come and that the project gets right back on schedule, after, however, addressing both the road and the height issue… and reassuring Miramar’s neighbors.

P.S.: If you have an opinion, observation, suggestion, or gripe concerning the Miramar project, we’d like to hear it. Please e-mail: tim@montecitojournal.net with those feelings.

Slurry Seal on Coast Village Road

Over the next three weeks the City of Santa Barbara will be slurry-sealing Coast Village Road and Coast Village Circle. Road maintenance will consist of two phases, beginning on Thursday, September 13. Phase One will take one week, with one week in between to allow the sealant to dry. Phase Two will begin on Monday, September 24 and end on Friday the 28th.

Tim Gaasch, a Supervising Engineer for the City of Santa Barbara, informed the Journal that it was important for people to avoid walking or driving on the sealant before it fully dries. Stepping in the sealant, he said, could ruin shoes or worse, be tracked into stores, causing quite a mess.

Sealing of the road will be done incrementally and Coast Village Road will remain open. However, if you can avoid CVR during September 13-18 and 24-28 it would be much appreciated by those of us who work in the area.

Montecito Association Citizens of the Year

Congratulations to Montecito Citizen of the Year Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Wallace, the entire Montecito Fire Department, and the Montecito Emergency Response & Recovery Action Group; all will be honored during Montecito Association Beautification Day ceremonies on Saturday, November 3, in the village green. Wallace, et al, were nominated by the Montecito Association Board of Directors during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, September 11.

Looking For A Lost Dog?

A kind-hearted lady found a small and well-groomed dog running loose in Montecito on Saturday, September 8, in the upper village area near East Valley Road (and near the Oprah/Barack madness); we are trying to help her find the dog's owner. The pooch has no tags or microchip, but if you have lost a dog, please call Karen at 382-1376 and identify it; she’ll be pleased to return it to its proper home.