The Carpinteria City Council today will receive an update on the city’s cleanup efforts in the wake of January’s winter storms, and is expected to adopt a resolution extending the storm-related emergency proclamation and the city’s emergency response.
But council members first are scheduled to meet in closed session at 4 p.m. to conduct a public employee performance evaluation of City Manager Dave Durflinger, which might no longer be necessary given his announcement last week that he intends to retire by the end of the year after 21 years at the city’s helm.
The council will meet in regular session at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.
Until he leaves office, Mr. Durflinger remains very much on the job, and he will start off today’s council meeting with an update on the city’s January storm cleanup efforts.
Later, the council will be asked to adopt the resolution extending the storm-related emergency proclamation.
Council members also will be asked to direct city staff to return at least every 30 days for consideration of further extending the emergency proclamation “until such time that the response and recovery conditions dictate otherwise,” staff said.
On January 7, city staff began discussions with Carpinteria Fire District Chief Greg Fish about the significant storm forecast for Jan. 9 and 10, expected to impact the region, including Carpinteria, with significant runoff and potential for debris flows and flooding due, in part, to prior saturating rain events earlier in the month.
A multi-departmental preparation and storm response was established including an all-night watch by Public Works at areas of concern including all drainage inlets and vulnerable locations. In addition to nearly 2 inches of rain that fell Jan. 1, and 1.5 inches that fell Jan. 5, more than 4 inches of rain fell on Jan. 9 and 10 at high rates of rainfall per hour.
The rain caused significant flows in creeks and rivers. In Carpinteria, Carpinteria Creek flowed at capacity, causing damage to the banks of the creek, inundating and damaging the Carpinteria Creek Bike Path, and destroying utility infrastructure on the Carpinteria Avenue bridge.
Widespread flooding in the region damaged roadways and other infrastructure and stranded motorists. Significant amounts of wood, rock and dirt material were washed out to creek mouths and along local beaches causing public health and safety hazards.
In preparation for possible flooding of residences in the Carpinteria Creek corridor, an evacuation order was issued for GranVida Senior Living and Memory Care, to all properties adjacent Carpinteria Creek between Foothill Road and Highway 101, the 800 block of Concha Loma, and those portions of 8th street condos (Singing Springs and Creekwind) closest to the creek.
About 100 people were evacuated temporarily to Casitas Plaza parking lot. The campgrounds nearby were closed from Rincon to Gaviota, including Carpinteria State Beach Park.
A declaration of emergency was approved by resolution at the online council meeting on Jan. 9. That same day, the Carpinteria City Emergency Operations Center and the Carpinteria Evacuation Emergency Shelter were activated and staffed by city employees and CERT volunteers through the end of the workday on Jan. 9.
Thirty individuals visited or used the services at the emergency shelter, which was supported with supplies from a prepositioned Red Cross trailer that is stored at the Public Works yard and had just recently been restocked.
Following the storm, emergency work was determined to be necessary at two locations in the Carpinteria area:
A portion of the creek bank at the end of 6th Street was severely eroded, compromising adjacent property and infrastructure of the Carpinteria Sanitary District and State Parks. The state brought in large rocks in order to fortify an approximate 250-foot length of creek bank. This work occurred the week of Jan. 15.
In addition, three flood control basins located in the foothills above Carpinteria (Arroyo Paredon, Santa Monica and Gobernador Canyon) were filled with material and require clearing out in order to restore capacity sufficient to function adequately for future winter storms.
The material from these basins will be deposited at Carpinteria Beach via truck delivery to the Ash Avenue street end. This work began the week of Jan. 15 and there is currently no estimated end date.
During the emergency and throughout the response, there has been communication from the city, in coordination with the county, with the public both online and with notices to residents of possibly affected areas.
Santa Barbara County proclaimed a local emergency on Jan. 9. On Jan. 16, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order to support communities impacted by the winter storms. President Joe Biden added Santa Barbara County to the federal disaster declaration on Jan. 17. All of this will assist response and recovery efforts to the storms.
According to staff, current conditions “warrant and necessitate that the city extend the proclamation of a local emergency in order to utilize all resources necessary to respond to damage that has occurred as a result of the January 2023 storms, and to receive any needed funding through the California Disaster Assistance Act and any other state and federal funds that may be available.”
The proclamation of a local emergency is a necessary precursor to taking certain actions necessary to respond to the emergency, such as promulgating orders and regulations necessary to provide for the protection of life and property. The proclamation also ensures that the city is eligible to receive certain available state and federal funding for disaster relief.
In other business, the council will hear the second reading of an ordinance amending provisions of the city’s Local Coastal Program and Zoning Code regarding Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) regulations and amending the city’s Zoning Map to establish an ADU Beach Neighborhood District.