Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

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At least 21 people died in the January 9 mudslide in Montecito. Santa Barbara County government officials have stated that future slides are possible. Should Montecito be closed off to human habitation and the people and businesses be relocated to safer areas?

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mrtrump Jan 23, 2018 11:22 AM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

After one day, several comments have been posted. Most commenters seem to believe that the residents and businesses in Montecito should be allowed to return, and relocating them would be too expensive, even after acknowledging the following facts: Montecito is now known to have several natural slide areas where at least 21 people died. The natural slides will continue to be a threat. Children will be living in the slide areas. People who are not aware of the danger will be encouraged to patronize businesses in the slide area. Emergency personal will be at risk of death if a new slide occurs and residents/business patrons require rescue. The environment will be damaged from the movement and disposal of mud and debris to make the slide area habitable. Montecito has only 10,000 residents, which is 1/30 of 1 percent of the state population. If this is the position of the people and the government, then they better apply the same standards to EVERY person, business and entity that wants to obtain a permit or lease in or near the County of Santa Barbara.

therealbebe Jan 23, 2018 10:11 AM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

If people choose to rebuild and/or purchase these areas, I truly don't want to hear about ANY more lawsuits against the city, county, or other agencies.

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 07:43 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Rebuilds aren't dependent upon insurance. If the owner doesn't have enough insurance to rebuild, they will usually sell the plot, which will be built on by the buyer. And probably much bigger than before, if my vast knowledge of real estate television shows serves me well.

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 08:45 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Trust me, there is NO way that the owner of a plum Montecito property is "not going to be able to insure the property". It might cost a bit more, but there are PLENTY of insurance companies willing to line up to take that policy at the market premium!

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 08:45 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Trust me, there is NO way that the owner of a plum Montecito property is "not going to be able to insure the property". It might cost a bit more, but there are PLENTY of insurance companies willing to line up to take that policy at the market premium!

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 08:45 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Trust me, there is NO way that the owner of a plum Montecito property is "not going to be able to insure the property". It might cost a bit more, but there are PLENTY of insurance companies willing to line up to take that policy at the market premium!

a-1519211188 Jan 22, 2018 08:45 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Trust me, there is NO way that the owner of a plum Montecito property is "not going to be able to insure the property". It might cost a bit more, but there are PLENTY of insurance companies willing to line up to take that policy at the market premium!

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 08:46 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Trust me, there is NO way that the owner of a plum Montecito property is "not going to be able to insure the property". It might cost a bit more, but there are PLENTY of insurance companies willing to line up to take that policy at the market premium!

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 08:48 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Trust me, there is NO way that the owner of a plum Montecito property is "not going to be able to insure the property". It might cost a bit more, but there are PLENTY of insurance companies willing to line up to take that policy at the market premium! Do you think, when Oprah's policy is due for renewal, they'll decline her? Insurance declination are extremely rare (i.e. non-existent).

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 08:48 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Trust me, there is NO way that the owner of a plum Montecito property is "not going to be able to insure the property". It might cost a bit more, but there are PLENTY of insurance companies willing to line up to take that policy at the market premium! Do you think, when Oprah's policy is due for renewal, they'll decline her? Insurance declination are extremely rare (i.e. non-existent).

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 08:49 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Trust me, there is NO way that the owner of a plum Montecito property is "not going to be able to insure the property". It might cost a bit more, but there are PLENTY of insurance companies willing to line up to take that policy at the market premium! Do you think, when Oprah's policy is due for renewal, they'll decline her? Insurance declinations are extremely rare (i.e. non-existent).

Ahchooo Jan 22, 2018 08:16 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

But new owners might not be able to get insurance for a new house. There is the question of coverage for the people who have already suffered losses, and coverage for future, new construction.

a-1519211188 Jan 22, 2018 07:23 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

The people of flood control agency are working very hard to try to re-build the creeks to where they were once located to try to replicate the old drainages as much as possible, but there will likely be shifts in the flow lines.

a-1519211188 Jan 22, 2018 07:22 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

The availability of insurance will determine whether or not people rebuild. If people can't insure their homes, most won't rebuild. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Though most of the folk in Montecito are people of means, I have great compassion for their predicament.

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 06:10 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

As for property lines/boundaries, they are all under GPS now. As for the public cost of cleanup, the cleanup on the properties themselves are paid for by the land owners. Do you think they use public tax dollars to pump the mud out of Oprah's yard?? Nope. Public funds pay to clear the streets and highways n Montecito, yes, because they are PUBLIC streets used by the public (everyone from Oprah to her gardeners, and you & me). Also, consider the amount of property taxes that are paid by the owners of the huge estates, compared to what you & i pay. There's a reason for that.

ladylagomorph Jan 22, 2018 04:57 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

With the topography changed so much, how are people going to know exactly where their homes were. Where property lines existed, and who owns what.

a-1519211188 Jan 22, 2018 08:25 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

It'll have to be re-surveyed. They'll start at a known elevation point (ever seen a nail nailed through a washer in the road? This is a survey marker) that is outside the mudslide, and measure from there in a series of steps. GPS can also give a very good idea of where the boundaries are too.

Red Creek Jan 22, 2018 04:55 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

As long as future buyers of properties in the flood prone/ fire threatened areas are aware before they buy, they take the risk. Unfortunately in the aftermath of disaster cleanup, much of the costs are borne by first responders, public agencies and utilities, so there is a public cost to allowing development in flood plains and high fire risk areas . This has been taken into account locally in more recent times when deciding future zoning and development. (ie: larger lots with safe egress/ingress.) As for happening every 50 years, floods seem to come after the many now almost annual fires, it is Russian roulette if the deadly torrential rains will come which trigger the slides.

a-1519211188 Jan 22, 2018 04:51 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

My question is: who would want to return to an area which might be affected in future by rainfall in such a disastrous way? Property values must have sunk into the mud. Are the unobstrusive ranch-style smaller homes now going to be replaced with McMansions built upon knolls? I am so happy I don't have to deal with what the displaced are having to deal with now and in the future. Best of luck to all who owned property and resided there. What a mess.

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 04:48 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Some commenters are talking like Montecito is this death-trap precarious guaranteed danger-zone that only a fool would live in. Hardly. It's like any other place in the world that is in proximity to hills. Wildfires can happen anywhere in the world, and when they happen near hills (whether it be in rich or poor areas of Haiti, Italy, or Japan), there is a risk of natural disaster. If we declare an "off limits" to habitation of any area with a POSSIBILITY of disaster (and poor countries/areas are more likely to suffer such disasters), then we will quickly run out of land for the world's 7 billion inhabitants even more than we already are.

a-1519211188 Jan 22, 2018 04:08 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

And what, have the government (aka taxpayers, aka you and me) pay everyone for their property value? My god, can you imagine what the total cost of all real estate in Montecito is? Well into the billions, I'm sure. What a waste of money that would be.

CivilEngineer Jan 22, 2018 03:58 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Of course people are going to want to back and rebuild their homes. If mudflows only happen once ever 50 years (last time in 1969) then most people will be gone by the next time it occurs. What I wonder is who is going to be able to afford to rebuild? Will insurance cover the damage? If so, will the insurance settlement be enough? If so, will any company give regular people new insurance on the rebuilt homes? (For that matter, will you be able to afford the insurance on the homes that weren't damaged?) If the answers to those questions is no, then only the richest people who don't care about insurance will be able to rebuild. Maybe Montecito will turn into a place of very large estates only.

Nature Boy Jan 22, 2018 03:56 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Of COURSE they should be allowed to go home to the land they own. "Future slides are possible". Yes they are. Natural disaster is "possible" in most of the world. But there's the concept of Free Will, and being responsible for one's own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. There's no way our government could seize the land and declare it uninhabitable. That's not a country I'd want to live in.

Jupe Jan 22, 2018 08:51 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

70-80% of Montecito is untouched. Quake or tsunami, might be a different story. Building in the urban/forest interface brings these issues to the fore. Although as the North Cal. and Ventura fires showed, tightly packed homes and business can burn just as if they were a forest.

a-1519211188 Jan 22, 2018 04:10 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

I agree with you. Playing devil's advocate - do we/the govt continue to bail people out of these situations every few decades? Kind of a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too sort of thing.

Potif Jan 22, 2018 02:46 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

I wonder more about places on known flood plains that are routinely flooded out. New Orleans, being below sea level, also comes to mind. Along with areas along the rivers in the midwest that often flood, and are rebuilt on. This happened because the hills had recently had a major fire, with no time to reseed, and/or plant. Along with an extrordinary amount rainfall in a matter of minutes, that isn't as common here as hurricanes are in Louisiana, or tornadoes in 'tornado alley'.

Potif Jan 22, 2018 10:37 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

Your THREE 500-yr rains/flood in the last decade, reminds me of living in northern Virginia , where we 'celebrated' the first day of Spring every year the Navy had us living there... With the "Worst snowstorm in 30 years". And, it did somehow happen every year that we were there!

a-1519211188 Jan 22, 2018 03:58 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

I too wonder. In many places, within the last ~50 years the floodplains have actually expanded dramatically, in large part due to rampant construction changing the landscape. The technical definitions of floods have changed as well - what used to be a 500-yr flood, is now a 100-yr flood - however the "legal" definitions in most places (used by FEMA) have largely not changed yet. This is true in Houston, where they have had THREE 500-yr rainstorm/flood events in the last decade alone.

oceandrew Jan 22, 2018 01:07 PM
Should People be Allowed to Reoccupy Montecito?

With the massive number of historical mudslides it's outrageous they allowed Montecito to be settled in the first place. Dude, why don't you set your sights on the number of people killed by handguns and wonder what ought to be allowed or not.

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