Santa Barbara- S County

Goleta Beach Erosion Plan Becomes Political Sand Storm

Solution dispute now a campaign issue

Goleta Beach erosion

GOLETA, Calif. - Long term erosion issues at Goleta Beach Park have made their way into the political arena for the upcoming Santa Barbara County Supervisors race.

Goleta City Councilman Roger Acevas claims a plan supported by Supervisor Janet Wolf, who is running for reelection, would allow the beach, park, children's area, and parking lot to be destroyed.

Wolf said the way Acevas presented his concern was "political theater."   She said her positions will be developed from the county's studies and facts.  Nearby were two large reports on Goleta Beach, and an analysis of the erosion control options.

Acevas said if the county allows the ocean to batter the coast without protections, "the park is gone.  Two parking lots with 107 parking spaces are gone.  Our children's play area are gone. A million and a half people use this park a year."

Goleta Beach does have rock boulders in different areas to protect the park, but they have not been officially permitted by the Coastal Commission.   The county wants to make sure it has the most acceptable plan, which may include the boulders, before it returns to the state with its position. 

Some environmental groups say boulders divert the ocean energy and harm the beach in other areas.

Dave Hardy, with the Beachside Bar Cafe, said rock boulders protected his restaurant during the last storm, although waves went over the rocks and damaged some of the building.  He said without the boulders the structure would have sustained massive damage.

Wolf says the county has heard from several different groups and local citizens about the park issues, ranging from longtime residents and families, to the City of Santa Barbara which operates the nearby airport.

There's no clear answer that has been implemented and tested over many years of winter storms.

Currently the beach is about a five foot drop off from the park in some areas, and the county has plowed access walkways  for the public to get to the waterfront easily.

An orange fencing is up as a warning to visitors about the cliff.

Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting on the issue begins at 1:30 p.m.

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