Water Rates Going Up...Again !

Now is the time when all property owners must get involved in the new water allocation and rate structure being developed by the Montecito Water District. Many single-family homeowners could receive a water allocation that is a fraction of what they have been using and then be forced to pay double-digit increases when they use the same amount of water (or less) than they have been accustomed to, while the more powerful user groups could be allocated the same amount of water they have always used and pay little or in some cases no increase.

Homeowners need to attend the monthly public Montecito Water Board meetings and speak up so that we get the same consideration and fairness as all MWD customers. Now is the time to let our voices be heard before a plan is approved and it's too late.

David Strauss

Montecito

Leave Pandora's Box Closed

I thought we had put the noxious issue of cityhood for Montecito to rest for at least a generation, yet here it is rearing its unpleasant head again thanks to a few misguided egoists.

I can think of few things that would destroy the character and style of Montecito more efficiently than cityhood. It was a bad idea before and remains a bad idea now.

The incredible expense, bureaucracy and discomfort that would threaten our way of life is staggering to imagine. Let this Pandora's Box remain closed. For Heaven's sake let's leave Montecito alone and enjoy what we have.

Glenn Jordan

Montecito

Turn CVR into a 40-Pump Service Station

Some clarifications are in order regarding Scott Wenz’s recent letter (MJ #14/17). First, his assertion that “increasing urban density creates demands for roads and parking” isn’t necessarily true if that “density” comprises a good balance of housing with financial incentives to reduce the use of automobiles. Living in a dense urban core obviates the need to use a car to buy a gallon of milk. Secondly, Wenz’s “freedom of transportation” may sound wonderful in theory; unfortunately the experience of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is better likened to enslavement, not freedom. I know, I know, we need more lanes on the 101. Here’s an idea: forget adding a lane in each direction through Montecito. Let’s have five like the I-1O and transform Coast Village Road with all its pesky development, into a 40-pump service station.

Sincerely,

Arnie Cooper

Santa Barbara

Miramar Needs to Go

My family and I live 60 feet away from the Miramar Hotel and have lived here in Montecito since 1964. I spent many years as a child and young adult sneaking around the old Miramar Hotel.

The cottages only remain upright because the termites are holding hands and the mold has hardened so the walls haven't crumbled as yet. There is nothing of any possible 'historical' value on the hotel grounds. It is not a Chumash burial site. It is just a very old hotel that needs to be torn down.

Please let the Caruso group bulldoze the lot of it and build a great replacement.

Sincerely,

Greg Huglin

President

Miramar Beach Homeowners Association

What About an EIR?

Yes! I do want to see Rick Caruso rebuild the Miramar Beach Hotel, but as a builder and developer for almost thirty years I have some very serious concerns. As of April 1, 2008 the proposed Caruso plan is now being treated as an addendum to the approved Schrager Plan. Unfortunately there have been significant changes and substantial environmental impacts that as yet have not been adequately addressed or mitigated and that is why I am writing and hoping other residents will join me in requesting a review and preparation of an entirely new Environmental Impact Report.

Here are some of the Highlights of those changes:

Aesthetic/Visual: loss of 3.79 acres of green space; loss of 93 trees; loss of irreplaceable and non-replantable oaks; loss of public ocean and island views

Bulk, Mass and Scale: The Caruso Plan is 30,000 square feet larger than the Schrager plan; loss of 28 cottages; the Caruso main building is 5 times larger (37,658 square feet) than Schrager's plan, and approximately the same size of Trader Joe's shopping center on Milpas Street.

Traffic and Circulation: loss of Miramar Avenue; 205 Hotel Rooms, 300 Beach Club members and their guests, 500-seat convention center, not to mention employees (Biltmore has nearly 400 employees)

Fire Protection: loss of Miramar Ave and additional access to San Ysidro Road; traffic congestion from the number of guests staying or visiting hotel during an emergency

Noise/Air Quality: reflective noise [ping pong effect] and carbon monoxide noxious from the 900-plus linear feet of building mass; no current 48-hour noise modeling study done

Geological Process: 1,000 loads of cut and fill

Cultural Resources: Miramar Beach Hotel is one of our cultural resources and was mandated as a cottage-style hotel just as the Biltmore, San Ysidro Ranch and El Encanto were.

Parking: coastal ordinance calls for 671 parking spaces; the Caruso Plan has only 551

Height: buildings ranging from two to four stories sitting on 9 to 11.5 feet of fill

Water Resource: increase of water usage will create a shortage and increase water rates

The Montecito Community Plan (p.51) has mandated that commercial projects respect the scale and character of surrounding residential properties...

Page 26 states: “preservation of the semi-rural residential quality and garden atmosphere of our community is a mandate and I believe the reason each of us have chosen Montecito as our home.”

Yes, I want Mr. Caruso to build on Miramar Beach and I encourage other residents to join me in asking for an Environmental Impact Report or to build within the boundaries of the pre-approved plans.

Brit W. Beauvoix

Montecito

(Ed. note: The Miramar is historically a hotel and a tourist-serving facility. Do you really want it to stay the way it is? If not, some compromise will be required. – TLB)

The Oak Trees Are Back!

Thanks to Mr. GreenJeans, when the California Oak Moths devoured every single leaf on every one of our oak trees, we didn’t panic. The caterpillars seemed to offer some tasty morsels for the various birds in our backyard, and the moths presented good eating to both the birds and the bats (though the fish in our “pond” didn’t seem to like them). While our denuded trees weren’t particularly attractive for about six weeks, this spell of warm weather has brought out new buds and leaves by the thousands. All our oaks are back, with brand-new clothing!

Thank you.

Helen Buckley

Montecito

(Ed. note: Yeah, it did look pretty bad there for awhile, mom, but spraying made no sense whatsoever. The oak moths are a cyclical phenomena and maybe some of the more hysterical “Global Climate Change” doomsayers should pay attention to it. – TLB)