Santa Barbara County staff received the go-ahead Tuesday to explore options to help quell Goleta Beach’s erosion problem.

Unanimous support from the Board of Supervisors clears the way for “Goleta Beach 2.0,” an undertaking that will explore new alternatives for the beach after the Coastal Commission denied county plans in July.

The commission voted 9-1 against the county’s application to install a permeable pile groin of the beach’s coastline, what it termed the Coastal Access and Recreation Enhancement, or CARE project. In theory, the county’s plan would have installed underwater piles to trap sand instead of letting it wash down the coast.

According to county staff reports, several commissioners encouraged the county to consider managed retreat of the beach or park reconfiguration.

In response, the county is launching a detailed analysis of conditions at the park, mapping efforts will be completed in a few weeks and alternative park configurations will be considered.

Goleta Beach 2.0 will provide a “fresh look” for alternatives, said Erik Axelson, deputy director of Santa Barbara County Parks, adding that staff will offer several conceptual options in 2010 for the board to consider. He called the park the most heavily used in the county, and said there was no intention to appeal the Coastal Commission’s decision.

On top of the internal efforts by the county, a public outreach component includes an eight-month-long schedule of meetings and at least one public forum. The staff also has started discussions with some of the utility companies that operate at Goleta Beach, including gas, reclaimed water and wastewater.

In addition to allowing the plan to move forward, an ad hoc subcommittee was created that would report back to the supervisors next year.

Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf offered to be part of the committee, along with 3rd District Supervisor Dorreen Farr, since Goleta Beach lies within their districts.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at

Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper

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