Thursday, July 26, 2007

EDITORIAL: Development is bad news for Riviera

You can never be too prepared for a natural disaster, especially if you live in an area prone to natural disaster. Currently, there is a fire in Santa Barbara County that has been burning for nearly three weeks and is still only 65 percent contained. The fire has charred 31,000 acres. The past 12 months have been the driest in Santa Barbara county in more than 100 years.
Wild fires pose a serious risk and it’s important to be prepared for these types of emergencies. For residents of Santa Barbara’s Riviera and Mission Canyon neighborhoods, emergency preparedness is a major issue.
At the end of April, the City of Santa Barbara conducted a massive evacuation drill of the Riviera neighborhood, and the results weren’t good. Had that drill been real, a lot of people would have died. Major communication breakdowns between emergency crews were found.

The city is currently trying to work out these issues, but what are we to do in the meantime?
A proposed subdivision of an 8-acre parcel at 561 W. Mountain Dr. into four separate plots, which would share a private access road already used by five properties, sparked a discussion about the safety of those who live on the Riviera at Tuesday’s council meeting.
Property owners stood in front of the City Council protesting the proposed subdivision saying that additional traffic is a major safety threat.
Councilmembers and concerned citizens spent most of the night discussing the project that has already been approved by the city’s planning commission and is just waiting for its OK from the city.
Streets in the area are already narrow and aggravated by illegal parking, and adding more cars to the road will only further the problem.
This development is bad news for anyone residing on the Riviera. The amount of lives that would be lost if a massive fire were to break out there today is unfathomable.
Until the city planning commission wakes up and decides to consider the safety of the citizens over new development, you will have to take matters into your own hands. Make sure you have multiple exit routes, in case of road closures; be prepared to leave your home and personal possessions behind; and always make sure you have an adequate supply of food and water on hand for you and your family.

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