The Goleta Planning Commission on Monday night approved the development plan for the Ellwood Mesa Coastal Trails and Habitat Restoration project.
Goleta has a memorandum of understanding with the Santa Barbara Trails Council to design, build and find funding for this project, which will make improvements to the existing trails, beach access points and natural habitat of the Ellwood Mesa-Sperling Preserve area.
With this approval, the plans will go to the California Coastal Commission for review.
Members of the public were very clear that they want minimal changes to the area, so improvements will focus on drainage — to deal with erosion — and gully crossings.
The development plan approved Monday night includes designs for working on 2.1 miles of the California Coastal Trail and Juan Bautista de Anza Trail, which connect the nature preserve’s parking lot (near Ellwood Elementary School) to Isla Vista.
There will also be habitat restoration for 13 acres of the large preserve, where people will remove non-native plants along the trails, at beach access points and along the bluffs.
The Trails Council is working to find funding and already has support from the Goleta Valley Land Trust and Coastal Resources Enhancement Fund money, among others.
“They don’t just plan trails, they’re the same people who go out and build the trails — and you don’t see that all the time,” said Anne Wells, the city’s advance planning manager.