Santa Barbara County officials will meet with Isla Vista homeowners today to discuss changes to the Del Playa bluff erosion policy.
County Building and Safety Deputy Director Massoud Abolhoda said he and County Planning and Development Assistant Director Steve Mason will lead the meeting, which will run from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the County Planning Committee meeting room, 123 E. Anapamu St.
Planning Department staff and analysts from Cotton, Shires and Associates engineering consulting firm also will attend.
“We want to meet with them and get their views on the proposed changes,” said Mr. Abolhoda, who explained the feedback will be used to tweak the policy until it is finalized. He could not provide an estimated date for the release of the final policy.
Following a bluff collapse in January 2017, the county hired Cotton, Shires to conduct a geotechnical evaluation of the bluff along Del Playa Drive. The policy is intended to protect occupants of buildings near the retreating coastal bluffs and provide guidance to property owners in managing existing structures built on or immediately adjacent to the top of the bluffs.
The study evaluated 84 residential and multi-family structures on the south side of Del Playa Drive. Cotton, Shires released a 67-page report on its findings in March.
After reviewing the report, county officials are proposing a number of changes to existing policy, including issuing a notice when a property is within 25 feet of the bluffs, then putting the property on a watch list. When a property is within 20 feet it would be given a notice of violation, and properties within 15 feet would be given a notice and order to vacate the building.
If the proposed changes are enforced, the affected property owners will be required to hire a geotechnical engineer to do an on-site analysis and submit the findings to the county for review.
If the property owners’ analysis finds the property is 5 feet or less from the bluffs, the county’s geotechnical engineer will review the analysis, then the threshold would be adjusted on the needs of that specific property.