Thursday, September 29 , 2016, 1:44 am | Fair 61º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
 
 
 
 

Local News

Goleta Threatens Legal Action If County Supervisors Proceed with Goleta Beach Plan

City officials want the board, expected to select a project option on Tuesday, to first certify the environmental documents before taking any action

Goleta city leaders don’t agree with Santa Barbara County’s plans for Goleta Beach Park and haven’t been quiet about it, but now they’re threatening to take legal action if the Board of Supervisors moves forward with the project.

After years of environmental review, the supervisors are expected to pick a specific project at their meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Santa Barbara County’s most popular park has rock revetments installed to stop storms from destroying the park, but the California Coastal Commission has demanded a long-term strategy to deal with erosion instead of the rocks. The rocks were installed multiple times under emergency permits, which have expired.

The environmental impact report examines a “managed retreat” project that would remove the rocks, 107 parking spaces and relocate utility lines. Critics say the beach park will be washed away completely and want alternatives to be considered, which were also studied in the environmental documents.

Goleta leaders are partial to the second option, which would keep the rocks for 10 years and experiment with environmentally friendly protection options in the meantime.

In a letter to the Board of Supervisors, City Attorney Tim Giles said the City Council is concerned the county will send a project to the California Coastal Commission without certifying the environmental documents. That’s the process the county staff members are recommending for Tuesday.

However, the California Environmental Quality Act requires an EIR to be certified before a decision-making body (like the Board of Supervisors) takes any action toward selecting a project, Giles said.

Typically, the county Planning Commission would certify the EIR, the supervisors would make a decision on the project and then apply for a permit.

Giles urges the board to certify the environmental documents before they take any action.

“Consequently, shall the board move forward with the suggestions set forth in the staff report for this matter, the city will be forced to consider its legal options to challenge the board’s actions, including recovery of legal fees,” he wrote.

Goleta could file a writ of mandate action, asking a judge to order the county to comply with the CEQA process, Giles said.

County planning staff members say the county could be fined by the Coastal Commission if no action is taken on Tuesday to move the project forward. 

They wrote that it’s “premature and inefficient” to do a local permit process first, including EIR certification, since the Coastal Commission has the ultimate authority on approving a project. They propose going to the county Planning Commission with the permit and EIR certification after that.

Goleta wants the county to postpone any decision and get additional public input. The lack of outreach has had a “polarizing effect” on the community, Giles wrote in his letter.

“The bigger question is, why on a project of this size and a project that has so much public interest and affects so many people, wouldn’t you go through the normal process with public hearings?” he said Friday.

The City of Goleta doesn’t have an afternoon City Council session on Tuesday afternoon, so Giles and many of the council members are expected to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 9 a.m., but the Goleta Beach 2.0 project will be heard at 1:30 p.m. at the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >