Photo By Branden Aroyan
After 15 years of wrangling, lawsuits and various permitting obstructions of all kinds, the Rincon Point portion of the South Coast Beach Communities Septic to Sewer Project, which will remove the septic systems from Rincon Point, South Santa Barbara County as well as North Ventura County, has cleared the final hurdles of permitting.
The easement that gives the Carpinteria Sanitary District (CSD) the go-ahead to “…access, construct, install, operate and, maintain a District-owned sewer system and associated improvements on the property” was approved by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. The public notice, printed in the Santa Barbara News-Press on April 30, 2013, is reproduced below.
The County Board of Supervisors approval on May 7, 2013 represents the last hurdle in this important environmental project, which was the impetus for the creation of Heal the Ocean (HTO) in 1998 by Hillary Hauser and Jeff Young, a Santa Barbara attorney who is now the Chair of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. HTO, side by side with the Carpinteria Sanitary District, has for the last 15 years fought its way through the maze of lawsuits, Catch-22 permitting problems and court battles, funded by HTO and through the generosity of homeowners within the project area who have wanted to get off septic systems and see the project completed.
Surfers, who had asked Hauser to start the campaign and who had complained for years about getting illnesses from surfing the world class Rincon Point, held fundraising surf contests to raise money for the cause, and much funding came through HTO donors and finally, the Rincon homeowners themselves.
“This road has been so long and hard that at a recent HTO Board meeting, we all looked at each other and said, ‘Could this really be over?’” said Hillary Hauser, HTO Executive Director.
Following the Board of Supervisors hearing, the CSD Board of Directors, during its Board meeting at 5 p.m. the same day, approved the final plans for the project, and initiated the sewer construction bidding process.
The construction bidding process is expected to take about 40 days from May 7, 2013.
“Hopefully, the bid will come in according to budget,” says Hillary Hauser, “…and at this point Heal the Ocean will be hosting a massive celebration that will involve everyone who has helped this project happen, as well as the public.” Hauser stresses that the “real people who made this project move forward” is the Carpinteria Sanitary District Board of Directors and CSD General Manager Craig Murray. “At any point in the lawsuits and problems we encountered, CSD could have said, ‘We’re done with this!’” Hauser said. “But they continued on with us until the very end.”
Hauser also said Heal the Ocean thanks the majority of homeowners of Rincon Point who funded lawyers and myriad costs, which were significant. “They were there for us 24/7, Hauser said. “We owe them a great debt of gratitude.” She also said that the enormous help of HTO donors and Board members both past and present have kept the Rincon project going for years, financially and logistically, and that this help is a major reason the project is reaching final fruition.
For Further Information, Please Contact:
Hillary Hauser, Executive Director Heal the Ocean (805) 965-7570
Craig Murray, General Manager Carpinteria Sanitary District (805) 684-7214 ext. 12