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COUNTY CONCERNS


Over strong objections from Supervisors Susan Rose and Salud Carbajal, the County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to finally adopt a Santa Ynez Valley Community Plan. The plan has been six years in the making, but amendments added on Tuesday made it unpalatable to the two South County representatives. Insisted upon by rural landowners, those amendments removed from county maps all prospective hiking trails on private property. In addition, the amendments removed all Environmentally Sensitive Habitat designations from the document. Even though environmental regulations would apply in Santa Ynez, their absence from the document makes them harder to enforce, according to the plan’s critics.

A controversial piece of art that some feel negatively depicts McDonald’s is here to stay. The County Arts Commission, which oversees public art installations, decided that a sculpture of an inverted McDonald’s “M” insignia punctured by arrows will continue to occupy the corner of State and Canon Perdido streets through November. The sculpture came under fire from the owners of six local McDonald’s eateries, who protested that it represents a malicious attack on them, their businesses, and their clients.

The county has regularly permitted erection of flare stacks, oil and gas drilling rigs, industrial silos, and other major hardware in apparent contradiction of its own coastal and inland zoning ordinances, which prohibit structures taller than 50 feet. Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously agreed to follow the lead of the Planning Commission and the advice of the Planning & Development Department in amending the ordinances to exempt numerous industrial structures. No one objected to the decision.

An unvaccinated Santa Ynez horse died last week after being infected by the West Nile virus. Last year, six horses were infected with West Nile in Santa Barbara County; three died. Mitch Bernstein, the general manager of the Mosquito and Vector Management District, encouraged horse owners to have their animals vaccinated. “But we also want to emphasize that it’s not solely an animal and pet issue,” he warned, advising community members to take extra precautions against mosquito bites. There is no human vaccination for West Nile.



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