Solvang will soon hold the title to a parcel of land along Alamo Pintado Creek where the city plans to rehabilitate a water well and return it to service.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, also acting as the board of directors for the County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, on Tuesday approved transferring the 6.6-acre parcel to the city.
The transfer was part of the administrative agenda, consisting of a group of unrelated items usually not considered controversial and generally approved with a single vote.
County Flood Control and Water Conservation District staff recommended transferring the parcel to the city free of charge after determining the land is no longer needed by the county nor the district.
“Lot One will continue to be used for public purposes by the city,” said a report prepared by the district staff.
The long, irregularly shaped property runs between Rebild Drive and the creek, widening to Highway 246 at its southern end and narrowing toward where it ends at Coyote Creek Road at the northern end.
According to the staff report, the presence of Alamo Pintado Creek on the property creates a riparian habitat.
Dedicated to the county for no specific purpose in March 1979 by the owners of the adjacent subdivision, the property labeled Lot 1 is currently zoned park land and is the site of the city’s inactive Well 22 between Creekside Drive and Kolding Avenue.
Well 22 was drilled in 1997, but intermittent water quality problems — including high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas, iron and manganese — prompted the city to close the well.
After the City Council declared Stage 1 and 2 drought conditions in 2014, the city drilled five new wells.
However, the seemingly unending drought and an improvement in the well’s water quality from sealing off the bottom 96 feet led city staff to consider reopening it to increase Solvang’s water supply.
But doing so will require upgrades, including a new submersible pump, instrumentation and telemetry equipment, a shed to house a chloramines disinfectant system, new piping, a retaining wall, fencing and gates, a drainage system and asphalt and gravel paving.
Because of that, the county staff report noted that conveying title of the land to the city is in the public interest.
“This project will assist the city in maintaining a safe and reliable potable water supply, thereby preserving and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the city and county,” the staff report said.
The report also said the county has already issued the necessary permits to start the well upgrade project.