The Santa Barbara City Council will meet Tuesday and receive a presentation on the capital improvement program annual report for Fiscal Year 2020.
The current capital improvement program runs through FY 2024. The five-year trend for activity in much of the city’s capital programs continues well above prior levels. For example, the Streets Capital program is averaging over $25 million in expenditures annually. The fund’s prior year expenditures of approximately $34 million are approximately 70% of the five-year trend from two years ago. The Water Capital program is also trending upward at approximately $14 million in expenditures annually, exclusive of the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant Reactivation Project. This is up approximately 40% from the previous 5-year period, according to the staff report.
The report will include information on Measure C projects, as well as water resources, and a CIP status report.
Approximately $18 million of CIP projects were completed in the third and fourth quarters of FY 2020, which runs through June 30, 2020. Some of the 11 projects completed include: the Coast Village circle pavement project; railroad improvements on lower State Street; Cater cross tie and South Coast Conduit replacement project; La Colina sewer pump improvements; wastewater rehabilitation; water main replacement for East Beach town homes; and replacement projects for De la Guerra and Quiententos street bridges.
Some 18 projects are in construction, totaling $56.6 million. These projects include: pavement maintenance; the Las Positas and Modoc roads multi-use path; Highway safety improvements; Tunnel pump station rehabilitation; and other water main replacements.
An additional 30 CIP projects are in the design phase, with an estimated investment of $114 million.
The projects that are in the design phase include: the FY 2022 water water main rehabilitation projects; a desalination conveyance main; the Carpinteria Street bridge project; electrical upgrades at El Estero; and a pump rehabilitation at the Laguna Channel pump station, according to the staff report.
“Through a diversity of revenue sources, the City’s CIP is well funded. Currently, much of the CIP funds are for maintenance, which has afforded infrastructure managers the opportunity to address a significant deferred maintenance backlog. A large portion of this work is occurring within public streets. Staff is coordinating these efforts to sequence work in a cost effective manner that minimizes disruption to the public,” the staff report reads.
Another item on Tuesday’s agenda has the council receiving information on the existing city and state requirements to provide affordable housing units in certain rental housing projects. The council will be asked to provide direction to staff regarding any potential local amendments.
Also on Tuesday, the council will discuss amending the city’s grading ordinance to address grading less than 50 cubic yards on hillside properties. The staff report cites several recent grading projects that have raised concerns that additional verification should be provided for grading performed on a site that totals less than 50 cubic yards over any five-year period.
During the July 21 Ordinance Committee hearing on this topic, the city’s Ordinance Committee asked staff to amend the current grading ordinance to include a self-certification program for certain grading activities that are currently exempt from a grading permit. The committee also asked for additional ordinance amendments enabling the city to require a detailed confirmation of grading quantities by a licensed professional when the city suspects that the self-certified grading exceeded the amount of grading declared on the self-certification form.
On September 22, the city’s Ordinance Committee voted to refer the draft ordinance to the full council for the proposed amendments for a public hearing and consideration for approval.
In other business, the council will take up an appeal of the Parks and Recreation Commission’s action to deny the removal of a Nichols Willowleafed Peppermint Tree located in the parkway at 2514 Castillo St.
The appeal was filed by Blanca Benedict. On July 22, the commission voted to deny the request for street tree removal. The commission was unable to determine that one or more considerations outlined in the city’s municipal code satisfied the request, and that the removal did not provide valuable benefit to the state of the city’s urban forest.
The tree was planted some 30 or 40 years ago and is one of only 30 of its kind in the city. The city’s Forestry Program maintains the tree.
Ms. Benedict has twice applied for the removal of the tree, both in February 2017 and February 2019.
In 2017, the city’s Street Tree Advisory Committee and the Parks and Recreation Commission voted to deny the request for removal. The city council voted unanimously to uphold the denial.
In 2019, a second application was received and reviewed. The denial was not appealed.
In the latest appeal, Ms. Blanca Benedict is appealing the Parks and Recreation Commission’s denial of the tree removal application on the bases that the tree’s root system is causing damage to the sidewalk and the roadway, concerns with possible future limb failure, sight line issues exiting the driveway, and that the tree is not the currently designated species for the 2500 block of Castillo Street.
The Parks and Recreation Department recommends the council deny the appeal and uhold the decision to deny the removal of the tree.
Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be held virtually. It will be streamed live at www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/CAP.