Santa Barbara County Parks held a public forum on Tuesday to discuss Goleta Beach 2.0, a new plan to protect Goleta Beach from land erosion. Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, along with county staff, presented their plan to improve the condition of the beach after years of sand loss have shrunk it dramatically. Erik Axelson, South County Deputy Director of County Parks and Project Manager for Goleta Beach 2.0, stated that relocating the western parking lots would allow sand to replenish the area naturally and said that moving three large underground utility lines would protect them from future erosion damage.
The 48,000 square feet of concrete (approximately 170 spaces) is to be relocated to a satellite parking area on land currently owned by Southern California Gas Company, Sempra Energy, and the Goleta Sanitary District. The utility lines, which include high-pressure gas, reclaimed water, and pressurized wastewater lines, would be moved to a 60-foot-wide utility corridor along Route 217. Axelson outlined a plan for a transportation system from the satellite parking lot to the beach that would include a shuttle bus, interpretive trail, and water taxi system. Additional recreational activities, such as a kayak concession and activities for adults and kids, will be discussed as possibilities for the approximately 1.5 million people who visit Goleta Beach each year.
At the public forum, speakers from environmental organizations, including the Surfrider Foundation and the Environmental Defense Center, expressed happiness and gratitude to the county for the environmental impacts of Goleta Beach 2.0. Farr and Axelson encouraged public input at the next meetings. A Parks Commission hearing and Planning Commission hearing will be held in March, and the Board of Supervisors hearing will be held in April.