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Goleta Beach closed after wave impacts and costly restaurant damage

GOLETA, Calif. -  Waves that hit with a "boom"  damaged a restaurant under construction at Goleta Beach and left the parking lot and recreation areas badly swamped.

It happened early Thursday morning when the explosive mix of a high tide and a relentless storm surge arrived without much notice.

Debris went flying into the windows at the former Beachside Bar - Cafe being converted into the Ellwood restaurant in a prime spot next to the Goleta pier.

Some of the windows were broken apart and salt water found its way into the building from several locations.

That dunked construction plans, supplies, kitchen equipment and turned a dining room into a lake.The building is leased by the county to the restaurant operator who hopes emergency funds can help with the recovery.

Omar Khashen said "we're just kind of waiting this thing out and see how bad the damage gets.  Obviously it's not good right now, but hopefully it won't get too much worse.  The dining room is currently flooded. We are going to have to pump that out and it is still coming in."   

He was looking at a timeline change for the finished building but saw the damaged areas were not totally destroyed. "It's all fixable stuff," said Khashen who owns a beachfront restaurant in Huntington Beach as well. That site has also been challenged by weather impacts and a coastal oil impacts where recovery funds were available to help the business get through the setback.

For residents like Mary Dombek, seeing the parking lot full of debris including rocks and seaweed, she said  "we love this park," moments before it was cleared out.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Sheriff's Department and Parks Department determined the area was not safe and spectators in the area coming to see the giant waves might be in harms way.
Also, access to recreational sites such as tables, barbecue pits and also the bathrooms were difficult because of the water overflow.

Seeing widespread devastation and waves hitting the pier, Steve Dombek said, "oh look at this, oh my stars!   This is crazy this is crazy."

Goleta Pier had to be closed until it was deemed safe after a full check from one end to the other.

Article Topic Follows: Money and Business
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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