The Long-Planned Rerouting of McMenemy Trail

••• A headline in the Independent says there’s a “controversy” about the rerouting of McMenemy Trail, but I couldn’t quite tell what exactly what the issue is—this has been in the works since 2008—so I called Ashlee Mayfield, head of the Montecito Trails Foundation. It’s more of a nontroversy: the trail has always been problematic because of the dreaded section with all the switchbacks, which hikers, cyclists, and dogs regularly cut, causing erosion; moreover, the trail now runs along a section of unattractive fence and by a (rather grand) house and parking lot, which is not the experience most people crave when they’re hiking. So when the two property owners in question said the trail could be relocated elsewhere on their parcels—i.e., further into nature, rather than along the property line—it was a prime opportunity to solve all of the above issues. But none of this is happening anytime soon. The county is looking into the various easements to make sure it’s all feasible, and the environmental review has yet to be completed. The two images above show the existing trail and the proposed route.

••• “The county Planning Commission votes Wednesday to deny an appeal and uphold a permit for a Santa Claus Lane cannabis dispensary.” While I find the agitation over cannabis shops misplaced—the farms are much more of a nuisance—it certainly is remarkable that “the Board of Supervisors specifically removed Montecito commercial areas from consideration for a dispensary.” —Noozhawk

••• It was music manager Scooter Braun who paid $36 million for Ellen DeGeneres’s and Portia de Rossi’s Hot Springs house. —Dirt

••• “Goleta City Council unanimously voted in favor of a plastic pollution reduction ordinance [….] The ordinance prohibits the sale and distribution of certain single-use plastic and polystyrene disposable products in the community, as well as Mylar balloons [….] City officials said that a grace period is available for businesses to exhaust their existing supply of plastic straws and utensils, polystyrene products, Mylar balloons, and procure alternatives by June 1, 2023. However, local businesses can apply for extensions for compliance for up to six months after the implementation date.” —KEYT

••• “Feds Seek to Reverse Offshore Fracking Moratorium off California Coast […] Fracking Potential Persists for Pacific Oil Platforms in Federal Waters.” —Independent

••• The Historic Landmarks Commission did not at all like the apartment complex proposed for De La Vina and Carrillo, reports Noozhawk. Sure, the architecture is uninspired, but if the size is considered a problem in that downtown location, Santa Barbara is never going to solve its housing issues.

••• “The mysterious and suspicious circumstances surrounding the suspected homicide of 96-year-old Montecito resident Violet Evelyn Alberts this May just got more mysterious and suspicious. […] Alberts had been targeted in an alleged real estate fraud scheme concocted by Pauline Macareno, a Porter Ranch real estate operator, a few months prior to Alberts’s demise. Moreover, it was revealed Alberts had filed legal action against Macareno in March of this year.” —Independent

••• “Calvary Cemetery is planning to add 1,106 graves to its property on North Hope Avenue [….] The burial spaces would come in the form of 553 double-depth, concrete, pre-installed lawn crypts, which would allow for two stacked burials. […] The new graves would mostly go along North Hope Avenue, on undeveloped land.” That was Noozhawk; this is me: Back when I walked the Butterfly Beach area, I wrote about “the idea of using land as both cemetery and woodland park, so while there might be tiny markers where people could pay their respects, the land would be in a much more natural state and also actively enjoyed by the living.” That thought was inspired by a company whose name I couldn’t recall at the time, but now I’m getting Instagram ads for it; perhaps I crossed an age threshold. It’s called Better Place Forests, and I still think it’s a fantastic idea. Cemeteries are an appalling waste of space and resources, and if you believe in an afterlife, wouldn’t you rather spend eternity in a forest near Lake Arrowhead or Santa Cruz than in a “double-depth, concrete, pre-installed lawn crypt”?


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