CAMP to confer with lawyers, land trust and water company
The Community Association for the Modoc Preserve is considering its next steps after the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors’ approval of a plan to remove popular trees for a multi-use path.
On Tuesday, the board unanimously voted to go with Alignment B for the path, which goes along Modoc Road in an unincorporated area outside the Santa Barbara city limits.
“We are conferring with our attorneys, Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and La Cumbre Mutual Water Co. to discuss next moves,” CAMP co-founder Warren Thomas told the News-Press Wednesday in an email.
By Wednesday evening, 5,321 people had signed CAMP’s petition against Alignment B.
The number of people signing a petition to complete the path — a petition in favor of Alignment B — was 1,513 as of early Wednesday evening.
A majority of the comments that the Board of Supervisors received Tuesday were in favor of Alignment B for the Modoc Multi-Use Path. The users of the path would include bicyclists.
Of the comments emailed to the board, about two-thirds were in favor, and one-third was in opposition.
Of the commenters during the Board of Supervisors meeting, out of approximately 50 commenters, about a dozen were in opposition, said Supervisor Gregg Hart.
“I absolutely think a bike path can be designed that protects the preserve and most of the trees and also provides the connection we need on the regional bike path network,” Supervisor Hart told the News-Press Wednesday.
“As we face climate change, we need to invest in infrastructure that reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mr. Hart. “Transportation contributes to 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, and we need to encourage non-motorized options. We need to build bike paths that encourage people to get out of their cars.
“Modoc Las Positas bike path is a perfect example of how successful that can be,” he said. “With a class one bike path, you see families all the time.
“We want to extend that infrastructure, and there is a gap at this one spot,” he said. “I am strongly in favor of having a bike path that protects the preserve and enhances it and provides multimodal access for pedestrians, bicyclists and neighbors to connect to the regional bike path.”
The News-Press asked Chris Sneddon, deputy director of transportation for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department, about the county’s next steps now that the MND has been approved
“We are excited to be moving on to the next phase in developing this project,” Mr. Sneddon said Wednesday. “Our next steps are to submit the documents to get authorized by the state to move forward with the Detailed Design and Right of Way phase. We will reach out to the underlying property owner and easement holders in the area to meet with them, get them the information they need, and get their input on project design.
“We are also working on a stakeholder collaboration and outreach plan to keep people updated with project developments and seek input as we move forward,” Mr. Sneddon told the News-Press in an email.
Supervisor Hart said there’s more to do.
“We are not done. We have to work collaboratively with the stakeholders of the La Cumbre Mutual Water Co. and the Santa Barbara Land Trust to find a way to create an alignment that respects the conservation easement,” Mr. Hart said. “I’m confident that we can find a solution that protects the existing palm trees and allows a safe multi-use path for all to enjoy.”
Construction on this project is scheduled to start in the fall of 2023.