What's Up with that Ugly Fence?

What is that ugly cyclone fenced lot next to the Vons on the corner of CVR and Hot Springs? We are paying a great deal of attention to the other end of CVR but isn't it really this dump that greets most people arriving in Montecito? Seems to me that it's this end of CVR that most people think of as the "gateway" to our village. That's where our neighbors from SB and Goleta are going to arrive in our village, and where most of us who live here probably get off the freeway on the way home if we work or shop in the surrounding area. So is that hideous disaster going to disappear with the new freeway construction, or will we have great landscaping on the roundabout and a stark wire enclosed empty lot just beyond it? And how about the cyclone fence around the golf course across Hot Springs? Can't the Montecito Country Club do better than that for our village?

Roger Jenglesworth


(Publisher's Note: The Montecito Country Club will be renovated and that fence is in for some major upgrading; as for the former Shell Station at CVR/Hot Springs, the soil is being “remediated” to meet environmental standards and will remain like that for at least a couple more years as the soil is bled and tested. You bring up an interesting point, however. There is absolutely no requirement that a property owner in Montecito or Santa Barbara maintain any kind of standard whatsoever once whatever that property owner builds and/or decorates is completed. Standards are only required on paper and at lengthy land-use meetings before approval. Afterwards, neither Santa Barbara County nor the City of Santa Barbara has any legal right to insist upon any kind of maintenance, other than graffiti removal. ~TLB) MPC Protects our Interests

Allow me to add my own personal thanks to that well written letter from Jean Harfenist (MJ #14/33) about the handling of the Miramar mess by the Montecito Planning Commission. The MPC was the first and only governmental agency to follow our planning and zoning laws.

Her letter beautifully details, point by point, in simple clarity, many of the obvious failures of the various officials and agencies involved to just do their own job. That is all we concerned citizens are asking for, and there are many of us, contrary to what is being said by proponents. Just follow the official guidelines of our established legal codes dealing with zoning and building developments. Would that be too much to ask?

So thank you MPC for sticking to the rules and doing a fine job of protecting the community you represent. We can only pray that the rest of our governmental boards and officials might finally begin to follow your example.

Bud Stuart

Santa Barbara

Miramar Stock Option

Since it's obvious no outsider is going to make every Montecito resident happy regarding the Miramar, the Montecito community should do what the Green Bay Packers did in 1950 when they hired Gene Ronzani from the Chicago Bears. He issued stock to state residents thus giving them a vested interest in the troubled franchise. If this were to happen with the Miramar under an LLC, that would keep everything internal – profits, losses, pride, the continued roadside eyesore and everything in between.

Jeffrey Bellamar

Montecito (Publisher's Note: Although a great idea in theory, just imagine the internal fights that would ensue once it was turned over to a group of single-minded, single-issue shareholders! ~TLB)

Dear MPC

I am appalled at your complete and utter evisceration of Rick Caruso's Miramar Hotel plans.

Your ruthless chop & slop handling of the proposed plan speaks for itself; that each of you failed to accept your responsibilities regarding this matter speaks for itself also.

As Mr. Chairman Bob Bierig so aptly stated at the August 6 meeting, "No, that's it. If we ask for an EIR we're done."

Truer words were never spoken.

Sadly, we’re done too, the majority of Montecitans who wanted Rick Caruso's Miramar exactly as it appeared in his plans. An EIR that wasn't even required.


In my opinion you are totally void of any comprehension or good taste.

It is quite obvious (to myself and many Montecitans) that Intermarriage Politics are alive and well in Montecito.

All that having been said, I hope and pray that somehow, some way, Rick Caruso's Miramar finds approval elsewhere and is constructed.

Likewise, I hope and pray never to find any of you there.

I'm pretty sure I won't.

You'd want to park your own car, and that just isn't going to happen.

Verne Langdon


(Publisher's Note: “Intermarriage Politics”? Someday you’ll have to elaborate on exactly what that is and how it manifests itself, Verne. It would be nice to see something at the Miramar but I am afraid the MPC is just the first step. This project will be appealed on multiple levels; an unnecessary EIR is just one missile in a virtual arsenal of appellant legal weaponry. Anything finally approved by county officials will then be appealed to the Coastal Commission, where Caruso is also likely to have a tough time. People complain about the deteriorated state of the property, but they should ask themselves what they would do with a parcel that they owned but couldn’t be built upon. Don’t forget, there was a vocal group that held up Fess Parker’s Doubletree for almost a decade, arguing that the hobo jungle and druggie haven it had become should remain a hobo jungle and that to do otherwise would be taking “homes” from the “homeless” who’d made it their living quarters. If the Miramar site becomes a legal morass, that may happen there too. ~ TLB)

Setting The Record Straight

We would like to make an important clarification to an article in the Journal ("Village Beat" MJ #14/32). In last week's edition, your reporter covered the long and contentious discussion of the Miramar project at the Montecito Association's Board of Directors August meeting. At the conclusion of the article it was reported that Honorary Montecito Association Directors Dan Eidelson and Joan Wells "voiced their support" as a "show of solidarity of the MA." The implication seemed that we were supporting the Caruso project.

Your readers should know that neither of us has taken a position on the Miramar Hotel Plan. We believe our role as Honorary Directors should be to help the public and the Association understand the planning process. The Miramar development plan has generated a lot of emotion on all sides. As a result, both the Association and the Montecito Planning Commission have been attacked for the work they have done. We believe that these organizations should be respected for the efforts they have made in working through what is one of the largest developments in Montecito history.

Joan Wells

Dan Eidelson


(Publisher's Note: Sorry for the confusion. The Montecito Association and its Land Use Committee, as well as the MPC, have spent many hours reviewing the Miramar project and we agree with you that whatever their decision, it was an informed and educated one. ~TLB)