Community Outreach
Santa Barbara Middle School Neighborhood Outreach Efforts

SBMS has been working closely with our neighbors to answer any questions and address concerns about SBMS’s future operations on the Jefferson Campus. Based on the letter posted by Paul Welterlen on the Riviera Association website, we felt that it was important to provide a clearer picture of SBMS’ efforts to respond to concerns. Below is a more specific summary of these efforts.

  • Two presentations to the Riviera Association (RA) and over 12 direct meetings with RA neighborhood representatives since September 2010. Overall, the Riviera Association has been supportive of SBMS and has welcomed us to the neighborhood.

  • SBMS remains in weekly contact with the RA’s representative and continues to listen carefully to neighborhood concerns about noise, outdoor activities, views, fencing, and enhancing the landscape buffer. Many of their wishes have been incorporated into our landscape and operational plans.

  • SBMS has had four meetings with the Newton Road neighbors to discuss their key concerns and we have responded with the following proposed solutions:
    • SBMS has offered to replace and add to the height and length to the existing fence between the school and the neighbors to the east (Newton Road) in order to improve screening.

    • SBMS prepared a landscape plan to increase screening between the site and the adjacent neighbors. We received very positive feedback and broad support from Newton neighbors for the main elements of the plan. This plan will be reviewed and approved by the Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC). Once we make further progress in responding to their general concerns regarding outdoor use of the site, the landscape plan will be submitted to the City.

    • SBMS provided a map of the site showing the proposed location of the basketball and volleyball courts at the June 15th meeting and at the July 6th meetings with the Newton Road Neighbors. The landscape plan that will be reviewed by the HLC does not include the courts because, according to staff, the HLC does not review these types of uses.

    • SBMS considered safety, operations and traffic flow, and all neighbor requests when studying the potential locations for the basketball court. The final location (SBMS’ third preference) is adjacent to the parking area in the lower parking lot. This area was selected, in part, due to concerns expressed by the larger neighborhood.

    • SBMS has positioned the lunch room in the center of the school and adjacent to the lower parking lot in an effort to minimize impacts to the neighbors.

      SBMS shared last the Fall elective program with the Newton Road neighbors, at their request, to provide information about future outdoor activities. We’ve committed to providing a more refined Fall 2011 schedule at our meeting with them on August 9th. This information is also available on SBMS’ website.

    • SBMS is working on a new bell system that will be deployed only within the building and use chimes and or less disruptive sounds. This effort is being undertaken in response to neighbor concerns.

    • SBMS will repair sections of the existing fence and will secure the perimeter of the site with more care and attention to prevent unauthorized entry which has been a major neighborhood concern.

    • SBMS intends to use Mission Security to patrol the site at night to improve safety and security for the school and the neighbors. Brooks Institute had struggled to keep the campus gates and entry points secure.

    • SBMS will post additional residential signs near the east and west property boundaries.

Many of our efforts seem to have neighborhood support, while others may not go as far as some neighbors would like. SBMS is aware that these solutions don¹t address every concern, but we believe that they are a meaningful contribution to the process and dialogue.

In order to keep our outreach efforts on a positive track, we¹ve asked that the Riviera Association facilitate monthly neighborhood meetings. Jim Knight, President of the Association, has agreed that this would be a constructive role for the Association and is eager to help resolve concerns and to build a positive working relationship with all neighbors.