Project Title: Safety Element Update
Case Number:  (None)                                
Project Location: Countywide
Assigned Staff and Division:

Whitney Wilkinson, Long Range Planning Division


NEW! The Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA) draft report is available for review and comment. The comment period will be open for 30 days after the release date. Comments should be submitted to no later than 5 pm Friday, October 22nd. Additionally, comments can also be provided using the Public Engagement Map on the CCVA Social Pinpoint website here.

Click here to view the draft CCVA report.

Executive Summary also available for review in English and Spanish.

Please check out our Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Social Pinpoint website for more information and to view the project Interactive Map and Public Engagement Map and project documents.

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The County of Santa Barbara Seismic Safety and Safety Element (Safety Element) of the Comprehensive Plan establishes policies to protect the community from natural and human-made hazards. It is intended to guide land use planning by providing pertinent data regarding geologic, soil, seismic, fire and flood hazards. The element also includes the Safety Element supplement which describes land use planning measures to reduce the risk of public exposure to acutely hazardous materials associated with oil and gas pipelines and fixed facilities. More information on the Safety Element is available here.

The Safety Element was first adopted in 1979. It was recently updated in 2009 to update flood hazard information in compliance with Assembly Bill (AB) 162, and again in 2014 to update fire hazard information in compliance with Senate Bill (SB) 1241. However, it has not been updated to address recent disaster events and state legislation requiring local jurisdictions to analyze effects of climate-change hazards.

Recent legislative changes (Government Code 65302(g)(4)) require that the Comprehensive Plan's Safety Element, "be reviewed and updated as necessary to address climate adaptation and resiliency strategies." 

Proposed Project

The County has prepared a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA) in an effort to improve resiliency by analyzing how climate change may harm our community. We know that various climate-related changes are occurring and affecting our community already. The CCVA provides an opportunity for a closer look at specific climate-related hazards, like extreme heat, wildfires, sea-level rise, drought, coastal and inland flooding, agricultural pests and diseases, landslides, and extreme weather events, and how these hazards are likely to affect us directly and indirectly now, through 2050, and beyond. The objectives the CCVA set out to meet:

  • Include data from State and Federal agencies and summarize the latest climate change projections relevant to Santa Barbara County;
  • Identify climate change hazards that will affect our community, 13 in total;
  • Identify community assets (e.g. buildings and facilities, infrastructure, economic drivers, ecosystems, and key community services) that will be affected by climate change;
  • Define and identify Frontline Communities, populations that experience the effects of climate change earlier, and to a greater extent, because of non-climate-related stressors, and incorporate these populations into the vulnerability assessment process;
  • Convene stakeholder advisory groups to advise County staff and consultants during development of the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment.
  • Seek input from the community and stakeholders through web-based interactive maps, workshops, stakeholder interviews, and presentations to advisory groups.

Prepare a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the unincorporated County areas, evaluating the impacts of climate change hazards and the ability of assets and populations to adapt.

The County's vulnerability assessment will build on work completed to evaluate climate vulnerabilities in Santa Barbara County to date, including:


Our first virtual community workshop featured an introduction to the One Climate initiative and the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment that took place on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. See workshop materials below.

         Workshop Summary – click here

         Presentation Slides (in English) – click here                       (in Spanish) – click here

         Workshop Recording (in English) – click here                   (in Spanish) – click here

         Workshop Q&A – click here

    Our second virtual community workshop took place on Thursday, February 25, 2021. Participants took a deeper dive into the CCVA and learned about how vulnerability scoring is conducted and participated themselves!

           Workshop Summary – click here

           Presentation Slides (in English) – click here                       (in Spanish) – click here

           Climate Stressors Handout (in English) – click here          (in Spanish) – click here

           Workshop Recording – click here



      • Research & Data Gathering
      • Conduct Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment


      • Climate Change Adaptation Plan Development
      • Draft updates to Safety Element information, maps, and policies
        • Complete Safety Element Goals, Policy, and Implementation Measure Updates


        • Prepare necessary LUDC/Article II Updates 
        • Environmental Review


        Seismic Safety & Safety Element Page

        Santa Barbara County Multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan

        Santa Barbara County Coastal Resiliency Project

        Santa Barbara Area Coastal Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment (SBA CEVA)

        Santa Barbara County Association of Government's Draft Multi-Modal Transportation Network Vulnerability Assessment (PDF)

        County Response to Board of Forestry Comments on 2014 Safety Element Update (PDF)

        NEW! Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Draft Report

        Additional Information / Resources


        Integrated Climate Adaptation Resiliency Program ( ICARP )

        California Office of Planning and Research - Safety Element Guidance

        California Adaptation Planning Guide

        OEM Tsunami Interactive Map

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