Rincon Trail Appeal Accepted by Carpinteria City Council
Santa Barbara’s ‘Soaring’ Community Appealed a Planning Commission Decision from January
Three appeals were filed regarding the Carpinteria Planning Commission’s decision on the Rincon Trail Project — a 2,800-foot bike and pedestrian trail connecting the city to Rincon Beach Park — leading the Carpinteria City Council to conditionally accept the appeals, reversing the decision and sending city staff back to the drawing board to come up with another alternative.
The major push wasn’t against the trail itself but instead surrounded concerns over bicycle and pedestrian safety and preserving the favorite flying spot for the local soaring community. Paragliders and hang-gliding enthusiasts flock to the Carpinteria Bluffs to fly out from their favorite launching point, called “Little Diamondhead.” The option chosen by the planning commission in January, “Alternative 3,” would have forced the gliders to launch elsewhere.
One of the three appellants was attorney Stan Barankiewicz, on behalf of the Santa Barbara Soaring Association. Pilots and members of the association, along with others from the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Foundation for Free Flight, Friends of Bates Beach, and Santa Barbara Bike Coalition were among those included in the letters urging the city to appeal the decision. A petition was also circulated and accrued more than 2,500 signatures.
Sign up for Indy Today to receive fresh news from Independent.com, in your inbox, every morning.
After more than three hours of comments and discussion, the council agreed to bring back “Alternative 4,” which would preserve the gliders’ airspace but could still be reworked to address the concerns of bicyclists and pedestrians spilling out onto a parking lot at Rincon.
“Seems like the direction, based on consensus, is leaning toward Alternative 4,” Mayor Wade Nomura said. “It gets us the bike path and protects the flight patterns.”
Councilmember Roy Lee was the only vote in opposition and voiced his support for the option already chosen by the planning commission.
The appeals were “conditionally granted” in a 4-1 vote, and the City Council directed city staff to flesh out two alternatives to be reconsidered at a later date. The alternative would have to be certified before the project could receive conditional use and coastal development permits.
Mayor Nomura closed the discussion by urging those that spoke to work to city staff in helping them plan the future options. “I would encourage you to reach out, ideally work with the staff for some of these EIR reports and things like that, because it seems like we didn’t quite hit the mark on those,” he said.
Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.