With about 60 or so people watching — including top representatives from Santa Barbara County planning and supervisors’ offices as well as many officials from the City of Goleta — more than two dozen citizens spoke up Tuesday night on what to do about fighting erosion at Goleta Beach. The nearly two-hour public comment hearing was held by county planners to get feedback on a recently released environmental report, which studied a plan for “managed retreat” at the county’s most popular park.
Most of the speakers advocated for protecting the parking lots, lawn, and other amenities at all costs, many said the plan had inadequate results or was simply a waste of money, and some criticized the county for not properly noticing the public. (Signs were finally erected at the beach this week.) Those associated with Friends of Goleta Beach put their support behind “alternative 2,” which would include a series of pilot projects to see what beach protection works best.
Those who had previously spoken in favor of managed retreat, which would lead to the loss of at least 100 parking spots and 60 percent of the lawn but restore some semblance of natural flow to the beach, were also critical of the study, including “alternative 3,” which was found to be environmentally superior.
“Goleta Beach 2.0 seems to me to be dead on arrival,” said one of the night’s last speakers, Ed de la Torre, a leader of Friends of Goleta Beach. “This won’t be hardly acceptable to almost anybody.”
The comments, which are being accepted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org until early August, will be incorporated into the final report. That then goes back to the public and decision-makers for further debate.