Friday, December 2, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 27th, 2016, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 21 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 17, Issue 21

Santa Ynez ziplines course project moves forward


The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors last week gave the green light to a Santa Ynez ziplines course after months of back-and-forth between the county and its residents.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the project, called the Sierra Grande Rural Recreation Project, in January, but the vote was appealed by neighbor Rick Oas. Oas argued the project's proposed site should be preserved for agricultural purposes, and also cited noise and driveway access as points of concern.

But much of the Santa Ynez community rallied in support of the project and Stuart Gildred, the brains behind the operation. Residents showed up to the July 19 Board of Supervisors meeting sporting matching "I 'heart' ziplines" shirts to speak in favor of the ziplines course.

Frank Kelsey, Santa Ynez Valley resident and head of Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation, was among public commenters who urged the board to approve the project. He expressed an idea echoed by many other commenters: that kids, too often glued to their phones and computers, need more outlets for outdoor activities.

"We need every bit of youth recreation facilities that we can possibly have," Kelsey said at the meeting.

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino agreed. He said that a big perpetrator of youth violence in Santa Maria is simply that young people don't have much else to do, and a ziplines course would provide another option for healthy activities.

Of course, access to the ziplines project wouldn't be cheap"Gildred estimated tickets would cost $110 for adults and $85 for youth"but Gildred agreed to provide at least 80 free tickets for disadvantaged youth each month, which Lavagnino praised.

"I applaud you for offering the facility up, and I hope it's not just for kids in the Santa Ynez Valley," Lavagnino said at the meeting. "I hope you're looking at bringing kids from Santa Barbara, and disadvantaged kids from Santa Maria, as well."

Ultimately, the pro-ziplines side won out with a 4-1 vote by the board to approve the project. Supervisor Janet Wolf was the only dissenter.

"I just cannot in good conscience make the findings of approval for this project," Wolf said at the meeting. "I feel that this is potentially setting a precedent in our ag land. This is a commercial venture in our ag preserve land."

The project will be built on a 1,186-acre parcel between Solvang and Buellton.

Weekly Poll
What do you think about a farmworker resource center in Santa Barbara County?

It's a great way to create a network of collaboration and reach people in need.
It's been needed in the county for a long time and should have been made earlier.
We don't have the funding now, but we should come up with ideas in the meantime.
We don't need it. There are plenty of resources readily available.

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