Skofield Reservoir Access Road January 2023 Repair Project


SCH Number
Public Agency
City of Santa Barbara
Document Title
Skofield Reservoir Access Road January 2023 Repair Project
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The purpose of this Project is to repair and restore an existing access road that was severely damaged during the January 2023 storm events. The Skofield Reservoir Access Road, owned and maintained by the City of Santa Barbara Water Department, is located near the intersection of Mount Calvary and Gibraltar Roads, and is a driveway leading to a 0.5-million-gallon drinking water storage reservoir. This access road sustained storm-related damage on January 9, 2023, including approximately 100 feet of embankment failure, damage to drainage structures, and debris slides impacting the roadway. This road is frequently accessed by City Water staff to operate and maintain the drinking water reservoir and requires safe access for both City personnel and third-party maintenance contractors. The Project’s scope of work will include repairing the roadway, installing soil nails to stabilize the damaged roadway and construction of a reinforced shotcrete retaining wall.

Contact Information

Kaitlin Mamulski
Agency Name
City of Santa Barbara
Job Title
Project Planner
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara
Southern California
Parcel #
021-010-025 and 021-020-001
Other Information
City of Santa Barbara

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Statutory Exemption
Type, Section or Code
15269 (d) Emergency Projects
Reasons for Exemption
CEQA Guidelines Section 15269 (d) Emergency Projects. This Project meets Section 15269 Emergency Projects (d) statutory exemption, because the Project was undertaken to repair and maintain an existing road and was initiated within a year of the damage occurring from the January 2023 storm, in which a state of emergency was proclaimed by the Governor pursuant to the California Emergency Services Act, commencing with Section 8550 of the Government Code. Archaeology. A small portion of parcel 021-010-025 contains a Prehistoric Watercourse Buffer Area. A Phase I Archaeological Report was prepared for an adjacent property within 50’ of the parcel and Prehistoric Watercourse Buffer Area. The Phase I concluded there was no evidence of cultural midden-type soils, marine shell, or chipped stone materials that could indicate Native American activity were identified. No further archaeological investigation was recommended or found necessary at that time. Given the results of the nearby Phase I, and that the location of work is limited to the northeastern portion of the parcel, outside of the Prehistoric Watercourse Buffer Area, the effect on archaeological resources is considered less than significant. Biology. Parcel 021-010-025 contains creek habitats that are riparian woodland or forest, upland habitats consisting of chaparral/coastal sage scrub and oak woodland, and it also includes special wildlife movement corridor areas. Hoffmann’s Bitter Gooseberry is a sensitive species point located on this parcel. No tree removal is planned for the Project, however, some trimming of chapparal shrub will likely be needed for access to the site. A pre-construction Biological Survey is recommended to help avoid any impacts to known resources of concern. Floodway. The Project site is located within the “AE, D, and X”, FEMA 2021 Flood Zones. The proposed access road repairs will restore ROW conditions to safe standards, better serving the public in flood conditions. Given the nature of the repair work, the effect on the floodway will be a beneficial impact. Front Country Trails. There appears to be a trail access point for a segment of Rattlesnake Canyon Trail adjacent to the site that will be temporarily impacted during construction. The trailhead/connector was observed in the field but is not shown as an official trail in the City’s GIS/MAPS layers. Removal of the existing fence/gate may be necessary to create temporary access needed to access the damage site. Given the impacts to the access point are temporary during construction, and temporary access will be provided, the effect on Front Country Trails is considered less than significant. Geology. The parcel contains very high slope stability hazards. This Project is being completed in response to storm and landslide related damage to the existing roadway and will improve the current hazardous road condition. Therefore, the effect on geology is considered a beneficial impact. High Fire Hazard Area. The Project site is located in the Extreme Foothill High Fire Hazard Area. Work in the High Fire Hazard Areas will not be permitted on “Red Flag Alert” days, as required by the Santa Barbara City and County Fire Departments. All work within High Fire Hazard Areas is subject to regulation and BMPs as outlined by the Project Specifications and Contract documents. Following BMPs, the effect on fire hazard is considered less than significant. Noise. The Project has potential to create temporary noise or vibration associated with construction, however, no work will be allowed outside of the authorized working house of 7AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. Given the nature of the temporary noise impacts, the effect on noise is considered less than significant. In conclusion, the Project investigates the condition of Gibraltar Dam’s spillway concrete, required by the City’s DSOD regulatory agency. Project is not anticipated to result in any significant impacts towards the environmental resources, therefore, the Public Works Department recommends that the Case Planner consider this Project as exempt, as defined in the CEQA review process classified under the 15301 (m) Existing Facilities and 15306 Information Collection categorical exemptions of the CEQA Guidelines.
County Clerk
Santa Barbara


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