The Heated Debate Over Goleta Beach Continues

The Heated Debate Over Goleta Beach Continues

By Friends of Goleta Beach Park on Mar 13, 2014 at 07:27 PM

The Heated Debate Over Goleta Beach Continues

Published in the SB View March 13, 2014

The Heated Debate Over Goleta Beach Continues

The Proposed Final EIR (Environmental Impact Report) for Goleta Beach 2.0 and possible alternatives is going to the board of supervisors for action during The March 18, 2014 Board of Supervisors (BOS) Meeting. Hundreds of comments were made during previous meetings, the vast majority of which indicated that the will of the people is soundly on the side of preserving Goleta Beach Park intact, as it is.

What’s the controversy, you ask? Who would want to change the park? Who would want to reduce access, remove parking and eliminate facilities? Well it seems the coastal commission and some of the County BOS do. Goleta beach 2.0 and some of the alternatives call for “managed retreat”. Which includes removing the protective rock revetments at the western end of the park and allowing nature to have its way and erode the beach. In fact, 2.0 would accelerate the process by removing the two westernmost parking lots and replacing them with sand (that I assume would be trucked in). That would cause the loss, initially, of about 107 parking spaces (more would be lost later) from the only easily accessible beach in Goleta. The plans to replace those spaces are restriping, making the existing spaces narrower and removing facilities such as the horseshoe pits and the ranger station. Does this sound like a good idea? Just look at the places in town that now have minimum width spaces and minimum aisle widths, imagine the problems with door dings and fender benders and increased potential for parking space rage as more people chase fewer spots. Do you think there might be justification for a kiosk and parking fees eventually, just to improve safety and control?

Alternative 2 of the Final EIR is the least disruptive of the options available and, for the most part, leaves things as they are and encourages improvements like adding Canary Island palms which have had proven success up the coast. This option also calls for a wait-and-see attitude allowing for reconsideration should conditions change.

One of the reasons we are being told we need to “destroy the park in order to save the park” is the threat of imminent sea level rise. Go to the NOAA site and see their prediction for sea level rise in our area – it is just 1.25mm/year. (A millimeter is about the width of a single grain of table salt or the thickness of the wire used in a small paper clip) – Multiplied out through year 2050 that’s 45mm or less than 2”.

Additionally the draft EIR shows actual measurements of local sea level rise of 0.0075”/year (about the width of two hairs) yet they have adopted models showing an 8” rise from 2000 levels by 2030. If the models were accurate we should have seen about 4” of rise by now. Not happening!

Another reason given for managed retreat is the threat of fines from the coastal commission if the rocks, which were placed with emergency permits, are not removed. Most of arguments in favor of managed retreat start with the following assumption and the same exact words, copied from someone’s talking points memo. “Like all seawalls, the Goleta Beach rock seawall will cause erosion and threaten to eliminate the largest beach in Goleta.” Again, this is the insanity of “we have to destroy the beach to save the beach.” The rock revetments at Goleta Beach are not like most other seawalls, instead of narrowing the beach they help widen it. You have only to look at what happened after the rocks were last put in under emergency permit. They stopped the destruction of the beach, saved the parking lots and, as calmer weather prevailed, eventually were covered up with sand and became part of the natural slope with the beach extending far in front. In fact, If not for that buried rock revetment we would have likely seen extensive damage to the western parking lots during the last storm. The rocks did their job and the deep cut in the sand left by the storm stopped at or before the rocks and will fill back in over the next season or so, accelerated with some sand replacement.

But what can I do to help save Goleta Beach Park?
1. Pass this on to all you local friends
2. Post this on your facebook page and encourage them to repost
3. Get more details at
4. Please write or call your Supervisor and tell them, “hands off” this important local resource
5. Show up at the BOS meeting on March 18th and show your support for The 2nd alternative to Goleta Beach 2.0.
6. Support Friends of Goleta Beach Park on Facebook, like our page and look for updates.

Glenn Avolio /Ed de la Torre
Friends of Goleta Beach Park.