Montecito Is About to Impose a Groundwater Tax

••• Ty Warner has put up new signs along the path outside his Butterfly Beach estate. I think it’s a polite way of asking men not to urinate there. Now someone needs to tell the birds to start respecting the signs.

••• Recent articles—such as this and this—about the Montecito Water District’s proposed rate increase don’t mention the Montecito Groundwater Sustainability Agency (also meeting today) and its proposed fee for “an annual charge on all affected parcels overlying the Montecito Groundwater Basin.” The organization has more info about itself here, and the fees and operating expenses are below. “If approved, the charges will commence July 1, 2020 and be recovered on a parcel’s property tax statement from the County of Santa Barbara Treasurer-Tax Collector.” It would seem to essentially be a property-tax increase, making everyone pay instead of finding a way to make people with wells pay for the water they’re pumping out of the ground. Won’t that simply encourage more people to drill wells, exacerbating the sustainability problem? You can read more about the GSA in this Noozhawk article from last July.

••• Thanks to Mark for sending in a better photo of what I thought/hoped was a viewing pavilion or she-shed under construction way up Hot Springs Road. It’s actually a new-build treehouse. Maybe it’ll be a sheehouse….

••• A depressing update from the Montecito Association:

Insurance Bill AB2167 Makes Its Way to California Senate. […] The intent is to strip the California Insurance Commissioner of many important powers. You may remember, Commissioner Lara helped us a lot last year in attempting to reform insurance practices in the state that hurt our constituents, like price-gouging and cancelling coverage in high fire danger areas, which is everything above 192 in Montecito. We were warned then by Assembly member Limon and Commissioner Lara that the insurance lobby is incredibly powerful in this state.

After killing a bill Commissioner Lara proposed to strengthen our ability to get reasonable homeowner’s insurance in this state, the insurance lobby has been pushing AB 2167 through sparsely attended committee hearings during COVID. It passed the Assembly on June 8, 61-3. Our Assembly rep voted against, understandably. […] The bill is now in the Senate, where it was read for the first time on 6/9/20. We need to take the next step of calling Senator Jackson’s office to find out where the bill is going, and how we can stop it.” Email: [email protected]; call the Santa Barbara office at (805) 965-0862 or Capitol Office at (916) 651-4019; contact through website:

••• Four recent closings of note: 1) 2190 Alisos Drive sold for $3.25 million, the most recent asking price. Someone got a good deal.

2) 529 Santa Rosa Lane also sold at the asking price, $5.295 million.

3) The ode to redwood at 900 Mission Canyon Road sold for $1.745 million, a bit above the asking price of $1.695 million.

4) Midcentury-with-potential 1333 East Valley Road sold for $2.7 million. It started at $3.395 million in April 2019 and got cut twice till it was at $2.995 million.