by Bob Hazard
Coast Village Road is open to business owners/employees and the public today, January 23. This is the first re-opening in Montecito since the flood of January 9th. In order to preserve security in unoccupied residential areas and to keep emergency routes free of local traffic, there will continue to be blockades at the following Montecito checkpoints:
US-101 Police Barricades in Montecito
US-101 Northbound AT SHEFFIELD DR. OFF-RAMP— No Exit
US-101 Northbound AT SAN YSIDRO RD. OFF-RAMP—No Exit
US-101 Northbound AT OLIVE MILL RD. OFF-RAMP—No Exit
US-101 Northbound AT HERMOSILLO RD. OFF-RAMP—No Exit
US-101 Northbound AT EVANS AVE. ON-RAMP—No entrance
US-101 Southbound AT SAN YSIDRO RD. OFF-RAMP—No Exit
US-101 Southbound AT OLIVE MILL RD. OFF-RAMP—No Exit
US-101 Southbound AT SHEFFIELD DR. OFF-RAMP—No Exit
Additional Police Barricades in Montecito
SANTA CLAUS LANE AT S. PADARO LANE
SR-192 AT LOWER TORO CANYON
SR-192 AT ORTEGA RIDGE RD
SR-192 AT SHEFFIELD DRIVE
ORTEGA HILL ROAD AT ORTEGA RIDGE ROAD
SHEFFIELD DRIVE AT ORTEGA HILL ROAD
SR-192 AT SAN YSIDRO ROAD
SAN YSIDRO ROAD AT N. JAMESON LANE
OLIVE MILL ROAD AT N. JAMESON LANE
OLIVE MILL ROAD AT SAN BENITO WAY
HOT SPRINGS RD AT OAK RD.
SR-192 AT HOT SPRINGS ROAD
SR-192 AT SYCAMORE CANYON ROAD
Initial Residential Re-Population Zone: Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Today at noon marks the beginning of the “systematic and incremental” re-population effort of Montecito. Homes in Emergency Evacuation Zone MTO O9, which runs from Eucalyptus Hill Road and Sycamore Canyon down to Coast Village Road, and a small portion of Emergency Evacuation Zone MTO 03, west of Hot Springs Creek, are being opened up to residents. Residents will have access to their homes, but will need to work with So Cal Gas representatives to have their gas turned on, and can then begin any clean-up work required on their own properties.
To identify your Emergency Evacuation Zone, check out the Emergency Information section of County of Santa Barbara website (countyofsb.org). When the site opens, click on the Red Bar labeled “Interactive Evacuation Map,” which displays the Montecito Evacuation Zones. You will have to play with the “Zoom In-Out Feature” to find your own residence and its Evacuation Zone Code.
As part of Montecito’s re-population, the voluntary evacuation designation will be lifted north of the 101, west of Olive Mill/Mesa Road/Oak Road, south of Hot Springs Rd/Sycamore Canyon Road, east of Eucalyptus Tree Road/El Rancho Road/Camino Viejo Road/Summit Road/Hot Springs Road.
The mandatory evacuation warning will be lifted for the area bounded by Ayala Lane, Ashley Road north of Sycamore Canyon Road to the 700 block of Ashley, east of Cold Spring Road, south of East Mountain Drive to the 800 block of E. Mountain Drive.
Residents needing wheel chair assistance to return to their residences can call Easy Lift at (805) 681-1180.
2nd Residential Re-population Zone: Wednesday, January 24
Wednesday, January 24 will mark the 2nd residential area in Montecito to be re-populated. Targeted areas are Evacuation Zones MTO 13, which runs from the 101 down to Channel Drive, and the eastern portion of MTO 14, which runs from Jameson Lane down to Hammonds Beach but excludes the areas around Bonnymede and Montecito Shores in the western part of MTO 14. The same rules as above would apply.
The Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore, undergoing their second closure and restoration since the Thomas Fire began last month, reports that their re-opening date is estimated to be April 1.
3rd Residential Re-Population Zone: Possibly Within the Next 5 Days
Within the next five days, the re-populating effort is expected to move to a portion of Emergency Evacuation Zone MTO 11, likely including residential homes in Birnam Wood, Ennisbrook and Montecito Ranch, all having access from Sheffield Drive, south of 192 East Valley Road. The same rules as above would apply.
Next Steps After Re-Population
Residents who return to their homes will be eager to retain private contractors to clean up mud on private property. That muck and mud contains a high degree of toxicity from fecal matter from broken sewer lines; petroleum hydrocarbons from motor oil, gasoline and diesel engines; and even poison ivy.
According to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, precautionary measures should include a tetanus booster for those who have not had a tetanus shot in the last ten years; wearing long-sleeved shirts, boots and nitrile gloves, goggles; and taking other appropriate safety and protection measures.
Residents who hire contractors, or use their own employees in cleanup, or do work themselves are encouraged to contact the Public Health Department to learn about best practices. Special questions can be directed to Dr. Charity Dean, the county’s Health Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (805) 681-5152.
SoCal Gas Update: Re-populated Residents
SoCal Gas has completed its assessment of the gas lines in Montecito and is currently making repairs near the Summit Road, Ortega Ridge Road, Hill Road and Coast Village Road areas. Natural gas service has been restored to 596 homes and 46 businesses along Coast Village Road as of January 22. Next up is restoration of service to some 600 customers west of Sheffield Drive.
Montecito residents are encouraged to visit the SoCal Gas booth at the Flood Recovery and Assistance Center at Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara or go on-line at socalgas.com/Montecito. Customers should provide updated contact information by clicking on the yellow “Update Info” button at the website, or by calling SoCal Gas at 1-800-427-2200. As SoCal Gas restores natural gas to neighborhoods, individual customers will be contacted by telephone, text or e-mail. To restore gas, you need to be at home to provide access to a SoCal Gas representative.
SoCal Gas has announced that it will not charge customers for natural gas during the temporary service interruption. In addition, if your home has been destroyed, or rendered uninhabitable, SoCal will forgive your final bill. Nice gesture.
The Bridges of Montecito
The biggest barrier to opening Route 192/East Valley Road is the condition of the bridges over Montecito’s creeks. All have been evaluated for safety. Some may be repaired; others will need to be replaced.
Rebuilding Montecito will require patience and innovation. No whining or complaining allowed. Be aware that stress can take many forms, and we should reach out to support each other through this challenging time.