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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two Big Fights over Development on Gaviota Coastline in Santa Barbara


The Haskell's Landing development site is next to the Sperling Ellwood Mesa Preserve and is a very important open space for Goleta.

2/10/2009--Planning Commission deadlocked at 2-2 vote, sends matter to City Council : Haskell’s Landing is a 100-unit project proposed just north of Sandpiper Golf Course, south of Highway 101 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. It is the latest incarnation of a series of proposals for residential projects in that roughly 14.5-acre lot, the most recent of which was Residences at Sandpiper, which was the subject of a fierce legal battle between the applicant and Goleta’s charter City Council.

...Opinions were about evenly divided among the public in the hearing room. Environmentalists urged the commission to keep the current 100-foot creek buffer zone rule, while other community members argued that the work the developer proposes to do would improve the creek over and above its current state.

for documents on project:



excerpted from:

Santa Barbara, CA – On March 3, 2009, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors revisited a controversial proposal to develop more than 70 estates at Naples on the Gaviota Coast; by voting to reject an amendment to the Santa Barbara Ranch project Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Board sent a clear signal that 2008 project approvals may not be set in stone.

The March 3 hearing was scheduled to address Brown Act violations alleged to have occurred in an October 2008 closed session decision. In October, the Board had voted in closed session to amend a 2002 MOU between the County and the Santa Barbara Ranch project applicants. The MOU amendment allowed for sequenced processing of the project’s inland and coastal portions, and the amended MOU was referenced extensively in the Board’s later approval of the Santa Barbara Ranch project. The Environmental Defense Center (EDC), Surfrider Foundation and the Naples Coalition argued, at the time, that the closed session decision was a clear violation of the state’s Brown Act open government laws.

In February 2009, the new Board of Supervisors accepted culpability for the October action and voted to cure the alleged Brown Act violations. A legal effect of this decision was to rescind the 2008 amendment to the Santa Barbara Ranch MOU. The Board then scheduled a re-hearing for March 3 on whether to adopt the proposed amendment in an open public session.

The MOU amendment would have allowed development on Santa Barbara and the adjoining Dos Pueblos Ranches north of Highway 101 to proceed before final approvals for the entire project had been granted by the California Coastal Commission. After considering the many reasons why it is important to keep the proposed project whole, the Board voted 3-1-1 to reject the MOU amendment. The motion to reject the MOU revisions was made by 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr; 4th District Supervisor Joni Gray abstained from the vote. According to County Counsel, the pre-amended 2002 MOU governing Santa Barbara Ranch is now in effect

The Board’s actions have triggered several reactions from the Santa Barbara Ranch applicants, including an initial decision to terminate the MOU entirely and to reject approvals for
development south of Highway 101. According to the applicant, this would result in more intense development on the coastal bluff. Meanwhile, the applicant intends to barrel ahead with development of the inland project. On March 3, however, County Counsel indicated that these reactions are not permissible. EDC, Surfrider and the Naples Coalition have pointed out that all of the project approvals were contingent on a purported “global resolution” of the land use issues at Naples. If the applicants follow through with their threats, it will unravel any resolution that has been achieved to date.....

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