Trees uprooting concrete, the installation of special storm drains in Isla Vista and a reorganization of the county’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) are all issues coming before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors at today’s meeting.
The supervisors will consider pursuing a program to remove trees that are causing damage to sidewalks, gutters and streets throughout the county. The board will also acknowledge the completion of a project that placed two new storm drains in Isla Vista. Beginning at 7:50 a.m., the meeting will be held in the hearing room at Betteravia Government Center, 511 East Lakeside Parkway in Santa Maria.
Third District Supervisor Brooks Firestone said the tree removal program is only for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Districts, where trees have caused the upheaval of concrete and, consequently, have become a public safety concern. Once the trees are taken out, the areas damaged by the trees will be repaired or replaced.
“It’s a countywide project,” he said. “There are 20 trees involved. I intend to ask public works where the 20 trees are in the districts and details for replanting the trees.”
Firestone said he is not entirely comfortable with the idea of a program that will uproot trees.
“I am not into tree removal,” Firestone said. “I am into tree planting.”
Firestone said he feels that eliminating the trees is not necessarily the best option.
“The alternative would be to remove the concrete that [is being] uplifted,” he said.
The total cost of the project has not yet been discussed, Firestone said, but the Board of Public Works will ask for the supervisors’ authorization to solicit price estimates from construction companies at the meeting.
If the board approves the tree removal program, 65 percent of the costs will be covered using funds from Measure D, and the other 35 percent will be paid by the owners of the properties where the trees are located.
The supervisors will also accept the notice of completion for the two large storm drains that were installed along Del Playa Drive starting March 2004. The drains, which cost the county $211,296, filter runoff water and help prevent trash on DP from making its way to the ocean.
Firestone said the cost of constructing the drains was well worth it.
“This makes so much sense,” he said. “It allows solids to be removed before it gets to the beach.”
Firestone said a third issue that will be discussed at the meeting is one regarding the BAR. He said the BAR currently serves all five districts, but the 4th and 5th Districts – the two northernmost districts – would like to create a separate BAR for the northern part of the county.
“BAR meets in the south, and the north is saying, ‘Why do we have to drive, then, from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara?'” Firestone said.
If 4th District Supervisor Joni Gray and 5th District Supervisor Joseph Centeno make a motion to create a second BAR for the north, Firestone said he would support the change.