Checklist for New Development

MBAR Creates New Design Review Checklist

While most of Montecito seems quietly tucked away for a long
winter’s nap, Montecito Board of Architectural Review
(MBAR) Chair Tony Spann
has been sitting fireside this
week industriously making his list and checking it twice! Spann’s
list, however, is not a leftover for a tardy Santa, but, rather, a
brand new, soon-to-be unveiled checklist for MBAR applicants
navigating Montecito’s design review process.

Spann (pictured) said the list, which puts into order
requirements already mandated by Montecito’s Architectural Design
Guidelines and Development Standards, is expected to be put into
use by mid-January in an effort to improve the process. mm%20tony%20spann.jpg He said the new project review
schedule was developed in response to citizen comments, concerns,
and confusion and it may become a template for use by other county
architectural review boards as well.

The MBAR came into existence in March 2003, created by the
county to be the design review arm of the Montecito Planning
Commission. The advisory board is appointed by Supervisor
Salud Carbajal
and is made up of professional architects
and Montecito community members.

As the MBAR entered its fourth year of existence, Spann said he
felt it was time to assess the process and retool it as needed.
Spann said he and Steve Chase, from County
Planning and Development, created the initial checklist concept
over six months ago. (Chase has since departed the county and now
works as planning director of the city of Goleta.)

Spann reported the checklist has undergone a long “tweaking”
process. It has been reviewed by MBAR members Don
and Ray Ketzel and by Montecito
Planning Commissioners Bob Bierig, Claire
, and Bob Meghreblian. County
Planning’s Dianne Meester Black and Julie
also took a look at it, along with the Building
Safety Department’s front-desk maestro Petra
. The Montecito Association also reviewed the
document and indicated enthusiastic approval by donating the
planning consultant services of Victoria Greene to
craft the final version for the county’s use.

While some locals may groan at the idea of a checklist, seeing
it as expanded bureaucratic burden, Spann said the submittal
prerequisites are not changing. “There is nothing new,” he
explained. “The requirements are just being put in a checklist
form. They’re just getting more organized, but they remain the same
as stated in the Montecito Architectural Design Guidelines. We are
trying to level the playing field. We’ll be looking for more
consistent information up front and we are trying to create a more
uniform application experience.”

He added that even as a final draft is being written, the
document will remain open to changes and suggestions. “I’d like to
have a soft opening in January and distribute 20 or 30 copies of it
to people attending MBAR meetings and using the process. I want
end-user and public input on this,” Spann said. With that done, it
may finally be the checkered flag for this very checked out

Oprah Winfrey’s new Montecito gal-pals are
traveling with her for the opening of her new girls school in
Africa. These ladies, we hear, provided some funding for Oprah’s
dream school. While this sounds like worthwhile cause, our new jet
setters are confusing the local lingo. A Montecito
used to mean sitting at the Coral Casino hoping the Beach
’ crooner Bruce
would stroll by humming a few bars of “Surfin’
Safari,” which delighted all the “California Girls.”

singers, here’s a big Montage welcome to Priscilla Presley, who has
purchased a lovely home in an oak-shaded village glen. Priscilla’s
is a familiar face in Montecito, often spending time here to garner
Montecito support for Make-a-Wish Foundation and other Priscilla
pet local non-profits

NEW WESTMONT TRUSTEES: The Westmont Board of
Trustees has elected Steve Strong as its new chair
and Montecito resident Denise Adams as vice-chair.
Strong is a graduate of Westmont and has an MBA from Harvard. He is
president and CEO of Steven Label. Adams graduated from Kent State
and holds a master’s degree from Connecticut University. The board
of trustees oversees the operation of the college and Chancellor
David K. Winter added, “I have known and admired both for many
years and I am delighted by their appointments.”


Prediction #1: Look for Bob
to become the next chairman of the Montecito
Planning Commission and look for a wide range of fresh faces to
make application for Dick Thielscher’s vacated seat.
Supervisor Salud Carbajal’s office will accept
applications up until January 16. Montecito community residents
interested in applying for planning commission seat must complete a
Santa Barbara County Commission Application, available online on
the County website at or can be requested
by calling the Clerk of the Board at 568-2240 or the First District
Office at 568-2186. Applications must be submitted to the Clerk of
the Board and/or Supervisor Carbajal’s office by Tuesday, January
16, 2007 to be considered.

Prediction #2: Montecito historian
David Myrick will take early retirement from the
Montecito Association Board of Directors. His resignation could be
announced as early as next week at the Association’s annual meeting
on January 9 at 4 p.m. As the long-time chairman of the
Associations’ History Committee and as the leading authority on
Montecito’s history, Myrick’s services and institutional knowledge
will be sorely missed. A replacement board member will be appointed
by the MA president to fill out Myrick’s one remaining year, and we
hear there are already plenty of hats in the ring.

Prediction #3: We aren’t buying into the latest
Montecito rumor that Ty Warner is selling the Miramar to the
Chumash for a casino. That rumor’s been around for a while and we
say “no dice.” But where there’s smoke there’s fire, so we do
predict the Miramar will fly from the ashes like a Phoenix in 2007
— maybe piloted by Team Ty or by perhaps a new owner — on this
point crystal ball is a bit murky.

Prediction #4: The 2007 political races will
not foster any politician as nice, kind, intelligent, or ethical as
President Gerald Ford. mmford.jpg I had the opportunity to work with him
on a Council of World Affairs event in Los Angeles in 1989
(pictured here) and every moment around this giant of a man was a
delight and pleasure — he will be missed.

IMAGINARY LIST: Speaking of lists, in early
December Montage went on an imaginary trendsetting shopping spree.
We gave village trendsetter Nora McNeely Hurley a
list asking for ideas for Montecito gifts raging from free to $1
million. The article, which was featured in The Indy’s
December 14 print edition, shows Nora casually seated in a 1926
Rolls Royce sipping wine, looking nonchalant, warm, and elegant —
but that image was far from the reality.

Here’s what really happened: Our plan was to photograph the
elegant $1 million Rolls Royce at sunset at the equally elegant
Four Season’s Biltmore Hotel. The Biltmore’s
doormen stood at attention; Paul Wellman, The
’s well-known photographer showed up ready to work; two
wardrobe helpers from Dressed and Ready were on
hand to put on the final touches; Nora showed up, dressed to the
nines in a sleeveless ballgown, accompanied by her husband Michael,
who was to be our “chauffeur.” Our gang assembled and waited for
our star, the Rolls, to arrive. But the diva stood us up.

It turned out Madame Rolls Royce had run out of gas near Chase
Palm Park on Cabrillo Boulevard and she had no intention of moving
even one block further. Being the game supporting players, we
loaded up our gear and ourselves and sped towards the fallen

The sun was setting by the time we reached the Rolls and our
roles quickly changed. Michael Hurley, at one time
our chauffeur, was recast as a light pole, holding a much needed
flash-flood; I turned from reporter to crossing guard, waving cars
around our photographer, who, in limited light, was trying to
capture the classic on film and at the same time nimbly dodge the
rush hour traffic; Nora, who by now had lost her shoes, stood
barefoot and freezing in her borrowed décolleté gown and only
marginally warmed by an nearly empty bottle of champagne, left
behind when our wardrobe team had the good sense to depart the
fading scene.

Alas, in the beauty biz all’s well that end’s well, and Paul got
a beautiful shot. But when you look at lovely contented Nora, in
the warm glow of sunset and toasting the good life in the Rolls,
don’t believe it! In reality she’s got freezing feet, she’s
terrified watching her husband dodge traffic, and her champagne is
long gone. No question: the price of beauty is indeed high!

And for those who didn’t see the printed article, here’s a look
at her list of fantasy gifts:

Free: A walk on Butterfly Beach at Sunset

$1: A lottery ticket from the Bottle Shop

$10: A trip to the Friday Farmer’s market for
Ojai Valley Bee Farm cream

$100: Kitten Lashes from Reds

$1,000: Pearl drop earrings from A.H.

$10,000: Wardrobe consultation and outfit from
Dressed and Ready

$100,000: A blow out party at the Four Seasons
Biltmore, lighting by Michael Hurley (of course) and flowers by S /
R Hogue.

$1 Million: 1926 Rolls Royce Phantom I Grand
Luxe Torpedo Phaeton from Charles Crail Automobiles.


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