Santa Barbara oil spill confirmed on local beaches
Lab tests have confirmed that many of the tar balls found on beaches from Ventura County to Long Beach originated from the oil spill at Santa Barbara’s Refugio State Beach last month.
The May 19 oil spill released more than 100,000 gallons of oil into the Gaviota Coast, resulting in a nine-mile long slick. Initial estimates had put the spill at closer to 24,000 gallons. The spill was the result of a ruptured pipeline owned by Texas based Plains All American. An investigation found extreme corrosion to be the cause of the rupture.
The tar balls appeared on beaches from Emma Wood to Marina Park in Ventura a week and a half after the initial oil spill, but hadn’t been confirmed as originating from the incident until this week.
The lab report shows that some but not all of the tar balls match the chemical signature of the oil being transported by Plains All American’s pipeline.
Analysis of the tar balls was conducted by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and UC Santa Barbara, Plains officials said.
While tar balls form naturally off of the Southern California coast due to underwater oil seepage, the large number of balls that appeared on the coast had officials questioning whether or not the oil rupture had been the source.
Ventura’s “V” will remain intact
Ventura’s famous “V” welcoming visitors into the city from its perch on an east end hillside will remain intact, even if development begins around it, according to the authors of a proposal to construct executive homes in the area.
Residents, concerned over the fate of the V, have taken to the Internet to express opposition to the plans drafted by Regent Properties that would put 55 homes on a 30 to 40 acre parcel of land on the Mariano Rancho property, while 135 more acres will be preserved in perpetuity as a nature reserve. While the entirety of Mariano Rancho is over 1,600 acres, the proposal only includes the 215 acres that reside within city limits.
Daniel Gryczman, president of Regent Properties, says that the claims are unfounded and in fact, during public presentations, says that the opposite is true.
“From the very first time we did any community outreach for this project, we included the V on the site plan,” said Gryczman. “We have never suggested getting rid of the V. We’ve always said the opposite, that we’d be restoring it as part of the project.”
Local environmental activist Jim Hines says that he isn’t so sure about the plans for the V, however.
“They’re going to have to use the exact piece of land to make whatever driveways for the homes to go there,” said Hines. “There’s talk of moving it or it would have to be rearranged, it’s openly been discussed by Regent and maybe even the city of Ventura.”
Gryczman says that the plans, which describe restoring the V, are a matter of public record and are available at the city’s Planning Department, and expects the proposal to go before the City Council sometime this fall.
Ventura to host residential allocation workshop
The Ventura City Council will host two community workshops to discuss the details of the 2015 Residential Allocation Program, which could determine the types of housing, the pace of residential growth, development and the allocation of “limited city resources,” such as water and land for the foreseeable future.
Part of the program will rank development projects on criteria that will be developed based on feedback from the workshops, which will allow residents to provide input on factors that should be considered in drafting the program and will discuss the city’s schedule and process. A second community workshop is scheduled for September.
In April, the Council voted down a temporary ban on new development in the city and allocated $170,000 to develop the program, directing funds to hiring outside help in order to speed up the process and reach completion by December. An additional $138,000 is estimated to be added for in-house costs.
The first community workshop will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, June 30, at the Ventura City Hall Community Meeting Room, 501 Poli St., Ventura. For more information, visit www.cityofventura.net/page/residential-allocation-program-rap.