••• The agenda for yesterday’s meeting of the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review includes this:
DISCUSSION ON THE BUTTERFLY LANE PEDESTRIAN UNDERPASS Reference Number: PLN2019-00249
Staff: Matthew Ozyilmaz, Planning Technician II
(Proposal for improvements to a pedestrian underpass. Project proposes to repair and renovate the pedestrian underpass connected Butterfly Lane beneath Highway 101 and railroad. Project requests comments from the Architectural Board of Review, but is not within the jurisdiction of the City of Santa Barbara.)
I asked Caltrans for details. The answer: “The project consists of replacing the existing stairs with an ADA compliant ramp at each end of the pedestrian undercrossing. Architectural treatments and lighting will be added as well. There are also an upgrade to the railroad crossing which includes some fencing and a pedestrian arm and signal.” What might “architectural treatments” mean? Would the mural get painted over? And will the tunnel be closed during repairs? “The mural will remain, we are only doing new construction to the exterior of the tunnel. The lights in the tunnel will be replaced with brighter LED lighting. The architectural treatments consist of colored concrete with form-liner on the retaining walls next to ped ramps. Decorative lighting, and addition of a concrete barrier up on the freeway to separate traffic from the portal openings. Yes, there will be some closures during the construction, there is no other way to build this without some closures of the tunnel.”
••• I hear that 818 Hot Springs Road, the 1930s Lutah Maria Riggs estate that was put up for auction in late February, has fallen out of escrow and is no longer on the market.
••• Meanwhile, the appealing spec* renovation of 1930 Jelinda Drive—built in 1981 as one of Ennisbrook’s four original houses—sold for $6.65 million. It was listed for $6.995 million in January, then cut to $6.75 million a month later. (*I assume it was done on spec; the seller bought for $3.185 million in Aug 2016….)
••• Another round of thanks to the Montecito Trails Foundation: “Valley Club Trail has undergone a much needed repair and restoration.”
••• Owlets! Do consider donating to the Ojai Raptor Center, which had to cancel its big open house fundraiser. (Also: the organization has handsome T-shirts.) And think twice if you’re using bait boxes for rodent control. When you poison rodents, you poison the animals that eat them.
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Avoiding habituation and imprinting onto our staff & volunteers is always a top priority for us with young orphans we receive during nesting Season but there is no doubt that some species are much more prone to imprinting than others. Imprinting is a natural developmental phase that happens within the first 4 weeks of life for most wildlife during which time they are supposed to come to understand their identity by association & exposure to their parents and siblings. You may have seen videos we’ve posted in the past of us wearing gillie suits and using a taxidermy Owl to feed young Great Horned Owls who are notorious for imprinting rapidly & easily onto humans. Interestingly, while it is of course possible to imprint any wild animal, Barn Owls simply do not imprint as easily as Great Horned Owls do. The Barn Owlets in the first video are older than 4 weeks and you can see they have a strong defensive response to humans (they were just moved into a clean cage and served their morning meal when it was taken) The Barn Owl nestlings in the second video are within the time frame where imprinting can occur but you can see they are already making defensive vocalizations at the sight of a non-Owl figure.