By Lea Boyd The droves that flooded city hall two weeks ago to voice support or opposition to the Carpinteria City Council’s endorsement of Measure P were diminished to just two speakers at the Carpinteria Valley Water District’s meeting to consider a position on the controversial oil drilling voter initiative on Oct. 22. The water board opted against an endorsement of any sort, after a staff presentation emphasizing the slim chance that the measure, which bans high intensity oil extraction techniques in unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, would have any affect on local groundwater supplies.
Carpinterian Betty Songer argued that the potential for groundwater contamination outside of Carpinteria Valley is still a threat to local supplies. “If this drought continues, we’re all going to be scrambling for our share of what little water is left. We can’t afford to lose any more water. We’re all in this mess together. We can’t risk what little water Santa Maria has to extreme oil extraction.”
Boardmembers expressed ambivalence on taking a stance this late in the election season. The item was presented as informational only, meaning that no action could be taken to officially support or oppose the measure until another publicly noticed meeting, which would have to be specially scheduled to take place prior to the Nov. 4 election.
“I just think we should steer clear of it,” said June Van Wingerden. “It’s just not our responsibility.”
Van Wingerden’s fellow boardmembers expressed some interest in scheduling a meeting to consider supporting the measure, but ultimately no motion was made to do so.
Potential for oil development in the Carpinteria area is highest offshore and within city limits, an area not covered by Measure P’s ban on fracking, cyclic-steam injection and matrix acidization. In the unincorporated area within CVWD, most of the properties are zoned for agriculture and would require jumping through “tremendous hoops” to explore and develop any oil or gas resources, said CVWD Administrative Analyst Alex Keuper. County staff told Keuper that if anyone applies for oil development in ag areas, “We will take their application, but we will make it very clear that it’s very unlikely to occur.”
“If Measure P failed, there would still be no affect in Carpinteria Valley because there are no oil resources that are going to be accessed outside the city’s jurisdiction,” summarized board President Matt Roberts.
By Peter Dugré The city’s stamp of completion on Venoco Inc.’s Paredon Project application has moved the project into the environmental review process. The application to drill for oil and natural gas from Venoco’s property on Dump Road had been held up since it was resubmitted in 2013 due to requests from the city for updated information on the project that has been kicking around various levels of planning since originally proposed to the State Lands Commission in 2001. Venoco proposes drilling up to 20 wells, and the most recent version of the application stipulates that exploratory drilling in phase one of the project will only include drilling onto land, not from land to reservoirs under the ocean.
The city council could decide in mid-November to contract with Marine Research Specialists, an environmental consulting agency, to begin crafting a draft Environmental Impact Report. MRS had crafted the EIR for the originally proposed Paredon Project in 2007, but Venoco suspended that application in favor of putting forth its voter initiative for a public vote in the June 2010 election. Voters in Carpinteria rejected Measure J by a margin of 70 to 30 percent.
Due to time elapsed and changes at Venoco’s property since the original application, the city had asked for many updates to baseline data from which to begin environmental analysis. The city last asked for amendments to Venoco’s application on July 18, and received an updated application on Aug. 14. The city deemed the application complete in mid-September.
Among other things, the city asked about fracking that had been conducted in 2010 from Platform Gail, a Venoco owned oil platform about 15 miles offshore that feeds oil to the Carpinteria Processing Facility, and how fracking would change oil processing in Carpinteria. Venoco stated that processing of oil to meet market specifications happens on the platforms, and any oil produced through fracking would be tested before being piped to shore in Carpinteria. Venoco also stated that oil processing at the site has gradually decreased since 2008.
The city council had begun discussion at its Oct. 13 meeting to ban oil drilling as a permitted use at Venoco’s Dump Road property. Should the city decide to alter zoning, which currently allows onshore drilling into onshore reservoirs at Venoco’s property, then it could change the way the application is processed. Venoco representatives at the Oct. 13 meeting stated that they perceived the city’s timing for considering a drilling ban as a direct attack on the current application.
After the city council awards a contract for environmental review, the consulting agency will hold a public meeting and ask for input on a scoping document, which will shape the environmental review process and guide which potential impacts of the project should be analyzed.
City plans to make 800 lots eligible for second units
By Dale Myers An upcoming decision by the Carpinteria City Council could pave the way for hundreds of new granny flats within the city. On Nov. 10, the council will consider adoption of the draft 2015-2023 Housing Element Update, which decreases the minimum lot size for second units in order to increase housing opportunities in Carpinteria.
Carpinteria’s Housing Element, a portion of the General Plan, analyzes the current and future housing needs and describes the city’s strategies to address said needs. The last update to the plan was adopted in 2011.
“Our goal is to fine-tune housing strategies and obtain state Housing and Community Development (HCD) certification,” said Housing Element consultant John Douglas of J.H. Douglas and Associates. “Major changes include revised regulations for special needs housing and a review of second-unit regulations.”
In July 2014, the Planning Commission supported revising the city’s second-unit standards regarding minimum lot size to encourage the construction of second units. Currently, the minimum lot size requirement for second units is 8,000 square feet, but by changing that requirement to 7,000 square feet “we can create 800 lots for second units,” said Jackie Campbell, community development director for the City of Carpinteria. These changes can also reduce some permitting constraints to the development of second units, given that none have been constructed in the city in the past five years.
At its next meeting, the council has the option to either approve the draft Housing Element for submittal to HCD for certification as recommended by the Planning Commission, direct staff to make changes to it or send the matter back to the Planning Commission. “We are not in danger of missing any deadline,” said Campbell. “We have until February 15, 2015.”
The council initially expected to vote on the Housing Element Update at its Oct. 27 meeting, but amendments to the General Plan require citywide noticing, which had not taken place.
Council updated on emergency services The council also received an informational report on the city’s Emergency Services Management Program, which was formulated to increase the community’s ability to respond in the case of a disaster. The three-pronged approach includes mitigation, to limit or eliminate a hazard’s presence; response, including actions taken in the immediate aftermath of an incident; and recovery, i.e. efforts for rebuilding and revitalization. “We take an all-hazards and entire-community approach to make sure everyone’s voice is heard,” said Julie Jeakle, emergency services coordinator for the City of Carpinteria.
Emergency Services goals are to strengthen the community’s emergency preparedness outreach, develop and implement a training program to ensure city staff is prepared, and enhance the city’s ability to respond to emergencies and reach residents. Its Don’t Panic, Prepare! awareness program includes a public education element where participants receive a starter emergency supplies kit and survival guide with life-saving tips. “Since 2011, over 2,500 Carpinteria households have received critical disaster-preparedness information,” said Jeakle.
Through the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), local residents are trained to provide crucial emergency response functions via the 20-hour training program, which is free. Training includes fire suppression, light search and rescue, disaster psychology and terrorism. City employees are also trained on a regular basis to increase their knowledge, skills and abilities related to disaster response. “It’s nice to know that this is all set up for the city,” said Councilman Fred Shaw.
The next City Council meeting will take place on Monday, Nov. 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.
Cleek named Mr. Warrior
Before the Homecoming Queen was crowned at the Carpinteria High School football game, nine boys competed on Oct. 22 at Carpinteria Middle School by singing, dancing and juggling for the right to be Mr. Warrior. When the laughter and applause quieted at the annual variety/talent show, Jonathan Cleek had his name announced as 2014’s top dog, an honor that carries with it the right to loop around the CHS track with the homecoming queen during the Friday night football game. Cleek’s talent was juggling at the show, and the band member and basketball player curried favor from classmates because “he embodies the true spirit of a CHS Warrior.”
Schools receive $41K from Carp-a-Cabana
Christmas just came early for local schools. At the Oct. 28 school board meeting, Carpinteria Education Foundation distributed a grand total of $41,527 among the seven Carpinteria Unified School District campuses. The funds raised at this year’s Carp-a-Cabana were divided among the schools, where most of the grant monies will be applied toward technology purchases, such as new laptops, projectors and iPads. During the presentation, CEF noted how far it had come as a contributor to the local education landscape. Ten years ago, the same big check from the group’s fall fundraiser amounted to just $8,800.
Cate outlasts Laguna Blanca, 58-52
Cate School 8-man football prevailed in its latest nail-biter of a victory on Oct. 27 when the Rams held off Laguna Blanca 58-52 to preserve a Condor League win. The Rams (4-2, 2-1), who have overcome a rash of injuries, remain in control of their playoff destiny.
“I’m really proud of how the guys stepped up,” Ram coach Ben Soto said. “We have more guys injured than we’ve had in the nine years I’ve been here.”
The Rams shifted Dean Smith to quarterback after losing two players at the position, and he helped stake the Rams to a 20-6 first-quarter lead. Isaiah Washington ran in two touchdowns, and Smith had one in the quarter.
The second quarter scoring began when Smith found Kian O'Connor in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown to put the Rams up 28-6.
Laguna’s quarterback ran for a touchdown to edge closer to the Rams. O’Connor and Smith each scored again before halftime, but Laguna kept pace. The Rams led 42-28 at the half.
Despite the score, the Owls weren't going away. Laguna scored on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Cate responded with another Washington touchdown, and the third quarter ended with Cate leading 50-36.
The Owls drew closer in the fourth quarter, when their quarterback found the end zone again. One more score for each side (another Washington TD for Cate) closed out the scoring, and Cate was able to walk away winners.
Assistant coach Dave Soto commended Rams special team players for “making big plays when they had to.” He highlighted the play of kick returner Pierce Lundt and defensive linemen Warren Giles and Aji Bodunrin. Masaki Kondo also made some big plays on defense, he said.
The Rams close the league schedule at Villanova Prep on Saturday, Nov. 1. A win would ensure the Rams second place in Condor League behind Thacher, the top-ranked team in Division 1 8-man football. The top two Condor League teams are guaranteed playoff spots.
Wilcocks beach bungalow earns Lookin’ Good Award
When Anne and Jack Wilcock purchased their Elm Street cottage in 1999, it had seen better days. Reportedly built in the early 1960s and moved to its current location to make way for the first Motel 6 in Santa Barbara, the two-bedroom bungalow was in need of some TLC, which the Wilcocks soon provided. Their efforts over the last several years earned them the notice of Carpinteria Beautiful, which honored the pretty property with a Lookin’ Good Award this fall. The home’s interior was modernized with help from Lyndia Krausgrill. Local painter Bernie Jimenez added charm to both the interior and exterior, and local gardener Rubin Vazquez installed drought tolerant landscaping.
Queen for a day
Homecoming princesses Megan Garcia, Edin Kuba, Maria Nova and Teagan Singer saw classmate Aylin Sanchez crowned homecoming queen on Oct. 24. (Photos by Bill Swing)