Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on preserving and connecting California's Parks & Wildlife Corridors

1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gaviota Coast Lawsuit Filed: EDC and Other Environmental Groups Challenge Naples Development Project

On Thursday, November 20, the Environmental Defense Center, Surfrider Foundation and the Naples Coalition filed a lawsuit challenging the Santa Barbara County's approval of the Santa Barbara Ranch Project at Naples. The lawsuit claims that the County violated several important environmental protection laws, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the California Coastal Act, State Planning and Zoning Law, and the California Land Conservation Act (better known as the "Williamson Act").

In filing the lawsuit, EDC Staff Attorney Nathan Alley noted that "The County not only ignored its own well established coastal protection policies, but also state law, in permitting a massive development project that is totally incompatible with the rural Gaviota Coast." The EDC has represented Surfrider Foundation in its efforts to preserve Naples for ten years. "The County clearly crossed the line when it ignored important State laws protecting coastal and agricultural lands," observed Alley. "Our lawsuit demands that the County rescind its action, and carefully examine the project and its impacts."

The Santa Barbara Ranch Project would allow development of 71 homes of approximately 7,500 to 10,000 square feet each, plus several accessory structures such as barns, cabanas and guest houses, an equestrian center, agricultural support facilities, water supply facilities, and three wastewater treatment plants. The project would result in the permanent conversion of hundreds of acres of agricultural lands, more than 200 acres of important wildlife habitat, and would require a re-zone of the property from agriculture to residential use. ...

for the full story and legal brief:

Voters in the City of Buellton Approve an Urban Growth Boundary

On November 4, 2008, an overwhelming majority of voters in the City of Buellton approved Measure E: the Buellton Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) Initiative. As the Ballot Argument in support of the UGB Initiative stated:

Measure E, the Buellton Urban Growth Boundary, promotes democracy and civic engagement by giving voters the right to decide whether Buellton expands beyond current City limits. Measure E complements the Buellton 2025 General Plan, which describes the City's unique small town character and agricultural surroundings.... Measure E does not affect the siting of schools or public parks on lands adjacent to the City, and it does not change how any planning decisions are made within the City limits. In fact, Measure E encourages revitalization of the City center.... Measure E ensures that the people of Buellton play a key role in determining the size and character of our community for the duration of the Buellton 2025 General Plan.

Once it is in effect, the UGB Initiative provides that voters in Buellton will have the ultimate say on whether the City annexes new land for development.

EDC was hired by Buellton Is Our Town to write Measure E and to shepherd it through the complex voter initiative process. Members of Buellton Is Our Town did the heavy work as they gathered signatures to qualify the UGB Initiative for the ballot and waged an energetic, upbeat campaign to explain Measure E to the voters in Buellton.

In the end, more than 68% of the Buellton electorate endorsed the UGB Initiative; and more than 76% rejected a "competing" ballot initiative sponsored by the City Council.

Now the people have spoken, and for the immediate future they have taken responsibility for the growth and prosperity of their City. EDC gives a heartfelt congratulations to everyone involved - we are proud to have been a part of this historic effort.

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