Miramar Latest

As anticipated, the California Coastal Commission has received two appeals of the Board of Supervisors decision to uphold the Montecito Planning Commission’s approval of the Miramar project. Naomi Kovacs, executive director of Citizens Planning Association, has confirmed that her organization has appealed to the Commission, along with Stan and Jean Harfenist. The Coastal Commission, an independent state agency that regulates land use in the coastal zone, is the last “administrative” step in opposing the project.

Anne Almy, Santa Barbara County senior planner for the Miramar, tells us the first step for the Coastal Commission is to determine whether or not there are substantial issues with the project in order to hear the appeal. If accepted, Coastal Commission staff will compile findings and conduct an independent evaluation of the project. Specifically, they will look at Coastal Act issues and the project’s impact on coastal resources. “I just don’t know how long it will take,” Almy told us when asked about a timeline. Rick Caruso, owner of the Miramar, bought the property nearly two years ago, and hopes to eventually build a 192-room resort on the 15-acre oceanfront lot.

Montecito Association to Host Tea Fire Forum

On Monday January 26, Montecito Association will host a forum to bring public agencies and community members together to discuss the unfolding of events during November’s Tea Fire. President Bill Palladini, along with President-elect Peter van Duinwyk (who will be seated next week) will moderate the two-hour meeting.

“What happened, what worked, what did not work and what we can do better next time,” Palladini said regarding what topics the forum will cover. The first 45 minutes will be coordinated by Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Wallace, who will explain to residents the timeline of the fire. Within the timeline, representatives from various public agencies will speak, including Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, Montecito Water District, MERRAG, and MFPD. Representatives are expected to explain their roles and summarize what worked and what could have gone better.

The second part of the forum will allow residents to ask questions and give constructive feedback to the various agencies. “It will give people the opportunity to ask the hard questions,” Palladini said. Montecito Association has asked residents affected by the fire for topics they’d like to see brought up at the meeting. “We are hoping to give folks a chance to get stuff off their chests regarding the response to the fire,” Van Duinwyk said.

Issues such as reverse 911, communication between residents and public officials, and efficiency of evacuation orders and routes are expected to be discussed. “It’s fair for the community to ask our public agencies to report back, and this seems to the most realistic way to make it happen,” Palladini said.

The forum is scheduled for Monday, January 26 at 7 pm at El Montecito Presbyterian Church on East Valley Road.

In more MA news, next Tuesday new board members and a new executive committee will be seated at the Montecito Association’s annual meeting. Current board members Elisa Atwill, Bill Palladini, Monica Brock Peterson, and Louis Weider will begin their second 3-year term, while new members Tom Bollay and Richard Nordlund will be welcomed.

Nominees for the executive committee will be confirmed at the meeting, with van Duinwyk as President, Palladini as 1st Vice President, Diane Pannkuk as 2nd Vice President, Monica Brock Petersen as Secretary, and Gene Sinser as Treasurer.

The annual meeting will begin at 4 pm on Tuesday January 13, followed by the monthly board meeting.

“Lack Challenge” Raises $23,600

On Tuesday December 23, David Lack, owner of Lack Construction in Santa Barbara, presented American Red Cross with a check for $23,600 to benefit victims of the Tea Fire. The funds were raised via the “Lack Challenge,” a call to help those affected by the fire; 230 residences in Santa Barbara County were destroyed.

“The American Red Cross were the first responders, and they have assured me the money will go directly to Tea Fire victims,” Lack noted, assured of the “full accountability” the Red Cross has promised him. Bob Grissom, chairman of the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the Red Cross said 170 families are currently using Red Cross resources, and 61 of those families will continue to need ongoing help for up to a year.

Also in attendance at the check presentation was Andy Clark, President of the Bank of Santa Barbara, Gregg Bigger, the bank’s founder, and Louise Kolbert, Director of Emergency Services for Red Cross. Bank of Santa Barbara partnered with Lack Construction for the challenge; Lack thanked Clark and Bigger for providing an account for contributions and their banking services. Lack donated over 1,500 water bottles to fire fighters and the Red Cross, and made available trucks, shovels, tools, and other equipment to help move sandbags during flash flood warnings. It is estimated that about fifty contributors donated to the Lack Challenge; donations ranged from $10 to $5,000. Lack matched the contributions up to $10,000. “We hope we’ve inspired people to give; there is nothing more important,” Lack said.

Montecito Trails Foundation

Now in its 45th year, Montecito Trails Foundation is inviting MTF members and the general public to its annual meeting on Wednesday January 21 from 4 to 7 pm. The organization has much to celebrate this year, having opened two new trails: Bella Vista Ranch Trail in Summerland and Toro Canyon Ridge Trail.

The new Bella Vista Ranch Trail begins in Summerland at Via Real and Greenwell and encompasses 49 acres. It rises to the top of the hill where hikers and riders can enjoy 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside from new benches with tie-up rails for horses. The Bella Vista Trail brings the total number of trails springing from the Greenwell Preserve hub to six.

The second new trail is the Toro Canyon Ridge Trail whose trailhead starts at Toro Canyon Road just before the road descends into Toro Canyon Park’s picnic area. A new sign points the way up the ridge where a new bench affords a resting place and spectacular views of the Carpinteria Valley.

Over the years, Montecito Trails Foundation has preserved, maintained, recorded and built trails in Montecito, Summerland, and Carpinteria. It continues to play an advocacy role for trails and open spaces countywide. Members receive the MTF Trail map, quarterly newsletters, and the opportunity to join monthly group hikes.

The Annual Meeting includes hearty hors d’oeuvres and companionship as well as liquid refreshment and takes place at the Greenwell Preserve on the corner of Greenwell and Asegra roads in Summerland. Participants are cautioned to dress warmly and reserve a space by calling 568-0833.

Love at Porch

Love is in the air. At Porch in Carpinteria, that is. On Friday January 16, the shop hosts a reception to celebrate local artist Linda Sands and her collection of love- and heart-themed art. The reception is a kickoff to a month-long show of Sands’ art.

The show is intended to promote love and the power of the human heart, according to Sands. Many of her pieces are inspired by her years in Cardiology medicine; patients, as well as people and places Sands loves are her muses. Sands, who lives in Carpinteria, is diverse in her mediums but generally prefers pastels; this will be her first one-woman show. Her collection of about a dozen pieces will be displayed in Porch’s unique vault that sits in the center of the shop; the building was formerly a bank. The reception coincides with the store’s first ever sale, and items in the store will be discounted 15-50%. Refreshments and wine will be provided at the open house-style event where Sands will discuss her work and answer questions.

What: Linda Sands Art Show: 13 January to 15 February

Reception: Friday, January 16 5-7 pm

Where: Porch, 5065 Carpinteria Ave in Carpinteria

More Information: 805-684-0300