The Santa Barbara City Council will hold a final public hearing Tuesday to modify the 2015-2020 Santa Barbara South Coast Tourism Business Improvement District in order to update the city’s use of advertising and communication, sales and marketing, and local destination marketing to increase overnight tourism.
The district is a benefit assessment district designed to increase tourism by creating a supplemental funding source for marketing the South Coast, managed by the nonprofit Visit Santa Barbara. The region includes the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta along with nearby unincorporated areas.
On Oct. 22, the council approved a resolution of intention to renew the Tourism Business Improvement District. On Nov. 12, the council received a presentation from Visit Santa Barbara on proposed marketing activities, which took into account developments such as new hotels.
The proposed update removes “dedicated luxury travel promotion,” and increases representation of budget and mid-scale hotels on the Visit Santa Barbara Board and TBID Committee, according to the staff report.
The council will vote Tuesday on ending the 2015-2020 TBID on Jan. 31 to allow the 2020-2024 TBID to take effect on Feb 1.
“The proposed TBID is expected to have an overall positive impact on the City, increasing tourism and potentially raising both transient occupancy and sales taxes. Because the City will collect the TBID assessment from lodging businesses, it will be paid a fee equal to 3% of the assessment collected,” reads the staff report.
The 2020-2024 TBID is expected to generate approximately $5.7 million for marketing outreach, which is higher than the current year’s projected assessment of $4.6 million.
In other business Tuesday, the Council will hear a report on the city’s potential vulnerability to hazards associated with a rising sea level.
“Although Santa Barbara has experienced a relatively small amount of sea-level rise to date from climate change, the rate of sea-level rise in the region is expected to accelerate significantly in upcoming years,” reads a staff report. “The State of California’s current conservative sea-level rise projections for the Santa Barbara area are 0.8 feet by 2030, 2.5 feet by 2060, and 6.6 feet by 2100.”
If no action is taken, the rise could result in increased flooding and erosion hazards on more than 1,250 parcels in the city, according to the staff report.
Tuesday’s meeting will include an informational hearing on the staff’s draft vulnerability assessment, which takes into account shoreline and bluff erosion, tidal inundation, storm waves, and coastal storm flooding.
If the sea level does rise 2.5 feet, a number of areas and city infrastructure will be affected, according to the staff report. Bluff erosion is expected to affect infrastructure at Shoreline Park, portions of Shoreline Drive, and properties in bluff-top residential neighborhoods. The effects of 2.5 feet of sea-level rise could impede most harbor functions. If sea-level rises to 6.6 feet, the harbor would be unusable without reconstruction.
Although much of the city will not be directly affected by the rise, a 6.6-foot rise in sea level would render El Estero Water Resource Center permanently inoperable as currently designed, which would impact wastewater service and recycled water service, according to the staff report.
Since 2018, the city has been developing an adaptation plan that provides a planning framework and options to address increased flooding and erosion hazards.
Tuesday’s hearing is the first of three council meetings planned for this year regarding the Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Plan.
In February, a draft of the plan will be released for public review, with recommendations for mitigating the impacts of sea-level rise. The plan will provide a framework for the city to closely monitor sea-level rise impacts and reduce vulnerabilities in phases as specific thresholds for action are reached. The plan will include specific recommendations for necessary actions in the next 10 years and a structure for decision-making and further study in the mid- and long-term.
“Although specific timing of sea-level rise in any particular area is uncertain, the amounts of sea-level rise considered in the Vulnerability Assessment are expected to occur at some point in the future. Because of the timing uncertainty, the Adaptation Plan will provide anticipated impacts and adaptation recommendations based on amounts of sea-level rise rather than when those amounts of sea-level rise will occur,” reads the staff report.
Also Tuesday, the council will receive a report on the interim urgency ordinance limiting application of the city’s existing Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance beyond Jan 1, 2020. The council will vote on extending the ordinance to Dec. 17.
Tuesday’s regular meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St.