Residents’ group says too many trees would still be removed
Fewer trees would be removed under revised plans for the Modoc Multi-Use Path — a bicycle path along Modoc Road.
But a group of residents says the number is still too high.
A new draft of the Mitigated Negative Declaration on the Modoc Multi-Use Path was released Friday. In November, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider it.
Since July, there has been an ongoing conflict over the project because of its proposal to remove trees to allow for a path that would include a barrier between bicyclists and motorists. The path is along Modoc Road in an area outside the Santa Barbara city limits.
The original project called for the removal of 61 trees, but as revised by Santa Barbara County, Alignment A affects 48 trees. The county’s alternative plan, Alignment B, affects 21 trees.
Of these total numbers, Alignment A affects 29 non-native Canary Island palm trees planted along Modoc Road. Alignment A affects no native trees.
Alignment B affects none of the non-native Canary Island palm trees planted along Modoc Road. However, it does affect three of the native coast live oak trees.
The Community Association for the Modoc Preserve has a petition to “Save the Modoc Trees” with more than 3,500 signatures.
The Save the Modoc Trees Petition states: “Originally, the kill zone was 63 trees in total! After a public outcry, and our petition with your support, implementation of Alignment A would now result in the removal of 48 trees, including 29 mature Canary Island Date palms.”
CAMP added, “That is still 48 trees too many!”
The petition added that CAMP does not believe Alignment B, which is on protected Modoc Preserve property, is viable for various reasons.
“It would also put equestrians, and their horses, right next to 25 mph e-bikes whizzing by!” the petition stated.
The petition does not mention that Alignment B provides for the replacement of the trees that would be removed.
“Any trees that are removed will be replaced — and any additional restoration will occur — in coordination with the managers of the Modoc Preserve,” Lael Wageneck, the public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department, told the News-Press in an email.
CAMP co-founder Warren Thomas told the News-Press, “A number of cyclists, including us, do not support the county’s building of this additional 14-foot wide bike path.”
In his email to the News-Press, Mr. Thomas added that social media posts show that a large number of Santa Barbara County residents “are fed up with the rampant urbanization currently taking place … as well as the cannabis industry’s effects from Padaro Lane (in Carpinteria) to New Cuyama.”