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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 7:30 am | Fair 47º


County Opens Tea Fire Recovery Satellite Office in Montecito

Staff members at the temporary location are there to answer residents' questions and help resolve issues.

A temporary Tea Fire Recovery Satellite Office in Montecito opened Friday, Santa Barbara County officials announced.

The office is behind Cold Spring Elementary School, 2243 Sycamore Canyon Road (Highway 192), at Stoddard Lane.

It’s a working office for county staff that is part of the county’s comprehensive strategy to assist the Montecito community with Tea Fire recovery operations with an office closer to the burn area. The office will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, even during the Dec. 22-Jan. 4 furlough.

“This is a county office where recovery work will be done, where residents will be able to find answers to their questions and get help resolving any issues under the county’s jurisdiction,” said board chairman and 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal said. “Community volunteers were working from the back of their cars as they helped the community, and this office will make it safer and more efficient for those volunteer efforts to continue.”

Tony Nisich, the county’s Tea Fire Recovery Team ombudsman, will be available to meet with residents. The county is also designating space for the Mountain Drive-area residents with a community service desk to help coordinate volunteer efforts that benefit Tea Fire survivors and homeowners groups affected by the fire.

The office is not a drop-off site for donations.

Montecito resident and design professional Adele Goggia will staff the volunteer community service desk five days a week. Goggia’s service is sponsored by her employer, Harrison Design Associates Architects of Santa Barbara. Eric David Greenspan, founder and CEO of Make It Work, is supplying computers for volunteers at the satellite office.

John McInnes, acting assistant CEO for the county’s Tea Fire Executive Team, coordinated the efforts to get the satellite office operational, with help from Montecito resident J’Amy Brown and Abe Powell, director of relief services for the Mountain Drive Community Association.

“J’Amy and Abe did a great job helping with this project. We also want to thank Bryan McCabe, Ph.D., superintendent/principal, Cold Spring School District and the district’s Board of Trustees for their help in making this project happen for the Montecito community,” McInnes said.

Trustees voted their approval for the satellite office after learning that about 30 Cold Spring School families were affected by the Tea Fire, either by the full loss or substantial damage to their homes. The trustees are Darren Caesar, president, Mike Hieshima, Ann Tro, Elizabeth Ricard and Bryan Goligoski.

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